Your Bellingham Whatcom Economic Development Council (BWEDC) supports a strategy for regional economic development through the delivery of tools, resources and technical assistance to companies and individuals interested in healthy commerce — local or global. These tools and resources help local businesses, regional partners and community leaders make sound business decisions and sustain a vibrant and innovative economy.
Here’s a brief menu of our services.
Free one-on-one counseling
We sometimes refer to our jobs as an intense game of Concentration. We work with many economic development partners, including WWU’s Small Business Development Center and NW Workforce Council, to help companies thrive, and we offer free one-on-one technical assistance.
Responses to inquiries we receive range from quick referrals to one of our partners, Web sites or resource material, a state department or agency specific contact, or many other local connections to in-depth analysis and development of a menu of tools that fit a client’s unique needs. Still other inquiries result in a gathering in the BWEDC Conference Room of local and national elected officials, jurisdictional planning and public works departments, state regulatory and finance agencies, and representatives from utilities, commercial real estate, architect/design and development professions.
BWEDC Web site: www.bwedc.org
Your BWEDC website compiles business resources, current facts and community data not readily available from other sources. This site is the virtual ‘front door’ of economic development for the Greater Whatcom region. Updates are made regularly. Watch later this fall for a new look and simplified navigation.
Did you know that the Manufacturer’s Directory for Whatcom County is posted? Did you know that information about utilities and infrastructure available in our six small cities can be found under Community Profiles? Information about our local Revolving Loan Fund is in the Business Services section.
Leveraging resources and talent to produce better outcomes is a priority for us. Recent examples include the Northwest Washington Marine Industry Cluster Study and the Foothills Communications and Economic Development Report. Both of these efforts represent an ongoing collaboration of private and public sector efforts and countless hours of volunteer and staff time focused on addressing identified needs and seizing valuable opportunities to create a healthy and resilient business climate. Both of these efforts remain active with targeted events (see below) and pursuit of additional opportunities that are in development.
Each month, economic development Practitioners gather in our conference room to address topics crucial to the success of our local businesses. These Practitioners are charged with delivering core services that address work force, land use, infrastructure, and finance – and how these must support innovation and commerce in a good business climate. Topics such as these don’t make for splashy front-page headlines, but are critical components of a healthy community.
Hosting dignitaries and guests
As the Associate Development Organization (ADO) for Whatcom County, your BWEDC acts as host and event planner for numerous visits from dignitaries, relocating-site selectors or companies, and experts with key resources for existing companies. Most recently, Site Selection magazine visited to capture the marine manufacturing sector and Bellingham’s Innovation Zone for their November issue featuring a story on Washington state. Your BWEDC teamed with the Port of Bellingham, Bellingham Technical College, Western Washington University, Technology Alliance Group (TAG), and All American Marine to present current activities and future plans.
Education and training events
Upcoming opportunities include the following:
- The Foothills Job Opportunities Event on Monday, Oct. 6, will host at least eight stations with one-on-one contacts or message boards for Help Wanted, Work Wanted, Resources Available, Business Start-up Tools, Business Opportunities, WorkSource Tools, etc. Another station will begin identifying possible businesses needed locally and gathering ideas of what light industry might look like in the Foothills area.
- Congressman Rick Larson will be the Keynote Speaker at the Bridges to Prosperity – US/Canada International Trade Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 7th at Semiahmoo Resort. This conference will address Border Security, Government Procurement, Shipping Logistics and Marketing Strategies for commerce moving in either direction. More information is available online at www.businessinsurrey.com or by calling the BWEDC office at (360) 676-4255.
- Border Economies will be the topic of two sessions at the 2008 AUBER (Association for University Business and Economic Research) Conference at Semiahmoo Resort on Oct. 12 -14. WWU’s Center for Economic and Business Research is leading the coordination of this event. Keynote speakers are Gary Zimmerman, Senior Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, David Wyss, Chief Economist from Standard and Poor’s and Irving Mintzer, Special Advisor to the Department of Energy.
- Immigration Customs Enforcement and Protecting the Security of Your Workforce is a vital issue for employers. On Thursday, Oct. 16, a two-part workshop will be held at Fox Hall. The morning will provide an overview of recent rule changes, penalties, and oversight by Department of Homeland Security. The afternoon will be a focused line-by-line instruction on completing the I-9 form. Register online at www.wamfg.org or call the BWEDC Office at (360) 676-4255.
How to connect
Access the above information and more on our Web site or by contacting your BWEDC office at (360) 676-4255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all our members, partners and sponsors for making the above possible.
Nancy Jordan is the executive director of the Bellingham Whatcom Economic Development Council. She can be reached at email@example.com.