Connecting the Dots Today and Tomorrow

by Nathan Bryant

Last year I wrote about economic development and some of the misconceptions surrounding the work since our organization doesn’t own real estate, construct buildings, lend money, approve projects, provide education, or directly provide financial incentives. What still applies is that we connect the dots.

Throughout all of this year that is what we have continued to do. The RAEDC (Rockford Area Economic Development Council) has been of direct service to the community. Throughout this pandemic we have worked in service of the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center, sourced much needed PPE (personal protective equipment) for small business, hosted webinars that outline new laws, financial resources, and responsibilities of employers. As our economy returns, we’re continually working to ensure success for the region in what will inevitably be a new way of doing business.

Unification with the Rockford Chamber of Commerce doesn’t change the daily work of economic development. Rather it enhances our region’s ability to deliver economic prosperity for all as the cornerstone moving forward. 

The goal of the RAEDC is to keep our organization as a top-of-mind resource that companies have come to rely on when they are looking to expand their facilities, services, or book of business.

We strive to keep companies in our region, create opportunities for primary job growth, and insulate our region from recessions through solid economic development methodology and industry diversification. This applies to businesses of all sizes.

Small and medium-sized companies face drastically different challenges compared to large corporations. Small and medium-sized business owners wear multiple hats; directly leading sales, marketing, finance, payroll, human resources, quality assurance, and simply being the chief executive. This is particularly difficult because business owners can’t be experts in each of these areas and become spread too thin over time. This is where the RAEDC can assist, providing information about tax credits, incentives, options when leases are ready to expire, or when it is time to expand into a larger building.

All of these activities happen behind the scenes and a project can take months or years to come together. Ensuring our region has the skilled workforce, available space, and connection to strong supply chains all impact the decision-making process. The RAEDC has expertise with local, state, and federal incentives, paired together with extensive real estate, construction, development, engineering, and municipal permitting packaged in a comprehensive analysis. Additionally, the experts at the RAEDC understand the complexities and delicate nuances associated with negotiating public-private partnerships to a successful outcome.

This is made possible through the continued support of investors, stakeholders, and partners. This is what propels our region to Top 25 status as a great place to locate a business, expand a business, or attract employees into the region.

Now is the time to lean into our region’s need and become a greater part of the overall solution. Personally, I’d love to hear from you; please feel free to reach me at 815.218.1371 or