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ECEDC reaches out to businesses

Melissa Topey • Oct 18, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Their diagnostic tool? The second annual Business Appreciation Week.

The program aims to improve communications with local businesses by visiting with owners and managers. Officials want to hear suggestions and concerns, as well as learn how area businesses are doing and understand some of their challenges.

“I wanted to create a framework for communicating more,” said Peter Zaehringer, executive director of ECEDC. “Not just calling, but I wanted them to see our face. We need to be out at the businesses.”

The development agency visited 36 businesses in one week last year, as part of its pilot Business Appreciation Week. Given the success from that event — and the increased request for visits this year — Business Appreciation Week will last two weeks, from Oct. 14-25, Zaehringer said.

The group North Coast Professionals will help with the visits and surveys. ECEDC has lined up visits to 50 businesses this year, although the number is expected to increase.

The agency may be able to help retain businesses by identifying resources such as grants, loans and expert advice. The information gathered is used to identify trends and long-term business strategies.

“Whatever resources we can provide to the businesses in our community, that’s what ECEDC is all about,” Zaehringer said.

It’s also about recognizing the entrepreneurs and business owners who choose to operate in Erie County, said Abbey Bemis, ECEDC’s retention specialist who is coordinating the event.

Businesses can still schedule visits. Call 419-627-7791 or email abbey@eriecountyedc.org  .

Organizations ECEDC connects to businesses

• Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO): This group markets the region, plans a regional strategy and assists companies seeking support from JobsOhio.

• Jumpstart: Invests in leading high-growth companies.

• Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (Magnet): Provides consulting services to help manufacturing companies achieve more efficient operations and increased productivity while improving sales.

• Northeast Ohio Trade & Economic Consortium (NEOTEC): Promoting businesses in Northeast Ohio.

• NorTech: Leading efforts to develop technology industries in the region.

• Greater Cleveland Partnership: A membership association of Northeast Ohio companies creating an attractive business environment.

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