As 2023 comes to a close, we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the milestones that occurred at BCDA, Inc this year. The wheels of economic development turn slowly so it is always refreshing to look back and see our daily efforts towards growth have, in fact, created some big changes for Boone County.
New Programs Implemented for Boone County Businesses in 2023
Through our strategic planning session that was conducted at the beginning of 2023, we identified two main concerns when it came to serving businesses in Boone County. First, the need for assistance for current business owners who wish to transition their business to a new owner in the future. And second, assisting the local businesses who are looking to grow through their marketing efforts.
This led to the creation and launch of two new programs that are now available to all Boone County businesses.
The Business Transition Program was created in partnership with the Nebraska Business Development Center. This program connects Boone County business owners to the right planning and resources that will help transition their businesses to the next generation. Through this program, we have discovered that it is never too early to start thinking about your exit strategy. By planning sooner you can create an easier path to new ownership. Learn more about the Business Transition Program here.
Over the years we have collected data from business owners who have come into our office for assistance. The main theme that we have found from this data is that there is a need for help with small business marketing in Boone County. That is why we have created our new Marketing Program. This program is designed to provide the right amount of support to help existing businesses either boost or begin strategic marketing efforts that can be sustained for long-term benefits. Learn more about the Marketing Program here.
2023 Emerging Leaders Program Series: Communicating With Impact
While most of our efforts at BCDA are centered on helping our local businesses, we also feel investing in our community members is important. Over the past few years, we have partnered with the Boone County Foundation Fund and the Coffman Organization to provide a high-quality leadership academy for adults in Boone County. In 2023, we restructured the academy to develop a 4-series program geared towards communication.
This program was led by Molly Brummond, Assistant Dean of Student Development at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Taking place from March to June, this series focused on four areas of communication:
- Rising Strong: The Stories You Tell Yourself And How They Impact Your Communication With Others
- Difficult Conversations: How To Give Feedback With Candor And Kindness
- Public Speaking 101: I Can Do This
- Getting To Yes: The Art Of Making The Ask & Getting The Response You Need
This program series was attended by over 30 adults who either work or live in Boone County. You can learn more about Emerging Leaders here.
The Return of Business & Industry Day
Business and Industry (B&I) Day returned to Boone County this year! After taking a break due to the pandemic B&I Day was reintroduced to the area schools for the first time since 2019.
B&I Day is where Boone County sophomores and juniors learn about local businesses, gain tools for finding their path, and an invitation to consider building their career right here at home after high school.
This event was attended by over 80 sophomores and juniors from Boone Central, St. Edward, and Riverside Schools. They learned from over 20 area businesses about healthcare, transportation, financial institutions, childcare, trade services, ag services, and more.
Energizing Entrepreneurs Program
The Energizing Entrepreneurs Program is a proven-effective four-step program we curated here at BCDA to assist entrepreneurs with getting their businesses started.
In 2023, we welcomed four new entrepreneurs to the program, two in Albion and two in Cedar Rapids. We look forward to supporting them and watching their businesses grow.
This year, we also issued the final payment to Chase Preister at Rae Valley Street Rods & Fabrication and would like to congratulate him on over three years in business in Petersburg.
BCDA Loan Program
BCDA’s Business Loan Program is a revolving loan fund that provides loans to start-ups and existing businesses in Boone County. This year we assisted a local entrepreneur in Albion purchasing a business by utilizing our Business Loan program.
If you are interested in utilizing the Loan Program, you can learn more here.
While housing is not a core focus for BCDA, Inc., we know that it is for the communities that we support. When the City of Albion and Albion Economic Development Corporation started raising funds earlier this year for a Rural Workforce Housing project, our board elected to support this cause with a $50,000 donation.
We look forward to supporting housing projects in the rest of our communities as projects are identified.
BCDA Staff & Board Members
In June of this year, we hired Jackie Valasek of Albion as our new Office Administrator. She has been an incredible asset to BCDA and has assisted with many of the projects mentioned above. You can learn more about Jackie here.
After 13 years on the BCDA board, Dean Hamling of St. Edward retired this year. He has been involved in many of the projects you see around the county and has championed the progression of our communities. His dedication to St. Edward and Boone County has been greatly appreciated.
2023 BCDA Overview
It’s hard to believe that 2023 has come to an end. Looking back, BCDA had a busy year and we are thankful for the opportunity to assist the members of Boone County and their businesses. We look forward to serving you all again in 2024 and for years to come.