This is an historical year for the Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations. We’ve reached major milestones, with MCEDA celebrating a quarter century of service and LCEDA marking its 20th anniversary. It really is time to turn the page and start a new chapter in effective economic development for our region. Thanks to input from people like you in both counties, we now have a roadmap to guide us toward our destination of economic development success in our two counties.
The most significant part of our strategic planning process was listening to community residents. We convened four community cafés, bringing people from both counties together to share concerns, ideas and dreams for the future. The information gathered in those listening sessions shaped plans for our organizations and gave us vital insights into ways in which we can better serve our communities and our region. Our thanks to all those who shared their thoughts in those meetings.
Four primary focus areas emerged from our conversations. The first is business development, the reason why we exist. We need to continue to keep the pipeline of new and expanding businesses full to grow our communities. To do that, we need to involve more people in all our communities and be a key resource to keep things growing. Another major focus area is communication and awareness, keeping the conversation about economic development active and reminding people throughout our region that we’re here to help—and that you can be part of our organizations and our efforts.
We heard requests from community leaders for training and education, connecting local officials and developers with the resources to make community efforts even more effective. We’re planning to be the portal to information and training workshops that can make a difference in all our communities. Our fourth focus area is making our organizations stronger so that we can do more for our members, regional communities and expanding companies.
MCEDA and LCEDA are part of an active ecosystem of development. Regional communities have a wide variety of resources—and we’re part of that fabric, which includes SECOG, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the SD Municipal League. We’re all there to assist communities, but growth requires local organizations and community involvement. We can all be part of an exciting new partnership to grow our regional economy—just by pitching in and working together.
By Nick Fosheim, Executive Director, Lincoln & Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations
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