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Cuyahoga County Celebrates National Economic Development Week

by Miranda Pomiecko , Communications Specialist, Department of Communications
Cuyahoga County leaders breaking ground at Dealer Tire in Cleveland, OhioCuyahoga County is marking National Economic Development Week from May 6-11, 2019 to celebrate the contributions of positive economic development and explain the role of the Cuyahoga County Department of Development in our local community. The County’s Department of Development manages everything from connecting our Health and Human Service clients to businesses with open positions, to financing for large and small businesses, to helping residents with home repairs, to large-scale development projects that make our County a dynamic and livable place.

A view of the Beacon, a 19-story apartment building under construction located at 515 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OhioDepartment of Development staff work as teams in three major program areas—Economic Development, Workforce Innovation, and Community Development/Housing—supported by teams in Business Intelligence, Loan Servicing, Administration, and Business Services.

The teams work on a comprehensive and critical set of strategic initiatives to help make Cuyahoga County attractive to businesses and to provide opportunities for our residents.

The Department’s Economic Development division is focused on business attraction, retention and creation through financial support. In 2018, the Economic Development division contributed to hundreds of jobs being created or retained, whether by providing direct financial support or through the support of local partners, who in turn provide financing to start-ups, micro-enterprises, high-growth technology companies, and small and mid-sized businesses throughout the County’s 59 communities.

In addition to the Grow Cuyahoga County Fund (in partnership with the National Development Council & Grow America); the Accelerated Growth program (in partnership with Growth Opportunity Partners); and the SBA Municipal-County initiative, the County also supported micro-enterprise lending through the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), and pre-seed lending for innovation ventures and early-stage development through Jumpstart.

Mayor of Fairview Park, Ohio Eileen Patton and owners of Gone to the Dogs, Jeffrey Grano and Jan Gilson at the Gone to the Dogs ribbon cuttingThese programs, utilizing seed capital from the County, matched by capital from our partners, have loaned a combined $6,163,710 to 67 small businesses in 2018, which supported the creation and retention of 333 jobs.

Take for example the $37,550 in SBA-County-Municipal Initiative funding toward a $50,000 forgivable loan made to Gone to the Dogs, a premier dog daycare and salon that has called the City of Fairview Park, Ohio home for 20 years, or the $23,000 in Microenterprise Loan Fund funding, administered by ECDI, made to Jireh Learning Center (page 13 of the 2018 Cuyahoga County Overview), an enrichment center for toddlers and school aged children.

Workforce innovation is another major focus of the Department of Development, whose mission is rooted in the County Executive’s strategic priority to improve our local workforce ecosystem and to accelerate economic growth and inclusion. The Workforce team delivers regional leadership in three key areas: Workforce Connect, Regional Collaboration, and Talent Advisory Services.

Jireh Learning Center, an enrichment center for toddlers and school aged children located in Cleveland, OhioCuyahoga County’s innovative business advisory service, SkillUp—a key part of the Workforce team—continues to help companies identify business problems, create solutions, and drive business results. One recent example is the work that SkillUp did to support Athens Imported Food and Deli. Through SkillUp, Athens Foods partnered with Cuyahoga County Public Library to provide on-site English language classes to its broad employee base. SkillUp provided coaching to help employees successfully complete the training program and reimbursed Athens Foods for training-related expenses, which included a wage increase for employees as a result of having learned a new and valuable skill. Since 2017, 253 businesses have received free advisory services through SkillUp, better equipping them with knowledge and strategies to identify and overcome barriers to growth and profitability.

These are just a few examples of the important work the Department of Development team does to make Cuyahoga County a leading destination to live, work, play and establish and grow a business. For more information on the significant progress that has been made in addressing key economic development priorities of County Executive Budish, visit the Cuyahoga County Department of Development 2018 Overview.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn more about the County’s Department of Development as we celebrate National Economic Development Week.