Erie County Economic Development Corporation
Memorable Moments
Even in year 5, we are never short of stories to tell and leaders to celebrate in the annual Days of Development series. It’s fun to look back, and even more fun to do this work each and every day. Behind the 11 stories shared so far is the ECEDC team, helping great companies Start, Stay, and Grow in our community. So for Day 12, we’d like to give a glimpse behind the scenes. Here are 12 of our favorite moments and accomplishments from a busy year...  
 
ONE | A Growing Team
ECEDC is a service business, and our people are our products. This year, we’ve added some talented new faces to the office. We’re pleased to welcome David White & Makenna Laser to our workforce development initiative, Firelands Forward, and Nico Samaniego & Alissa Fisher to support business development efforts. The efforts of our new and old crew are getting noticed! Makenna Laser was recently recognized as an Emerging Leader by the Norwalk United Fund. And our Executive Director, Abbey Bemis, was recognized by an international association, DCI, this year as one of the Top 40 Under 40 in economic development.
TWO | Continued Pandemic Support
Alas, we aren’t out of the COVID woods yet. We continued to offer targeted programming and support to assist local businesses through choppy waters – a return of our Business Briefing Webinar series focused on the dynamics of reopening, $50,000 in a fourth round of relief grants, and a continuation of the Share-a-Meal program with OHGo & ECCF.
THREE | Record Breaking Event

FOUR | Record Breaking Programs
Significant economic turmoil drives entrepreneurship by choice and circumstance. In its 10th anniversary year, RISE will serve a record 90+ entrepreneurs. Thankfully, Alissa Fisher has recently joined our team to keep up with client interest.
FIVE | Expanded Firelands Forward Reach
Firelands Forward, a new regional workforce development collaborative, launched in 2020 and grew larger in 2021 with the addition of Ottawa County. The growing territory increases the ability to pool resources and develop regional systems to address important workforce challenges.
SIX | MBET Taking Off
The Minority Business Empowerment Team, a grassroots organization made up of local businesses, City of Sandusky officials, and Sandusky City Schools leaders, started coming together last year. Interest and community support this year has been contagious – Minority Business Networking Nights have gathered 100 aspiring and current entrepreneurs; the organization’s Facebook following has topped 1,000; and the group’s introduced tools like a$625 Startup Scholarship.
SEVEN | Leveraged Federal Resources
ECEDC supports public partners and private clients in pursuit of resources that would expand their business or address barriers to growth. Two successes we were proud to support this year – a total reconstruction of Sawmill Parkway in Huron utilizing EDA and Ohio funds and a new product line coming to Quarry Hill Orchards with support of the USDA.   
EIGHT |  Expanded State Support
New grant programs from JobsOhio have also proved a value added to ECEDC and our clients. Many were featured in the DOD series, but support was far-reaching, like a Workforce Training Grant to n2y, Inclusion Grants to Chef’s Garden, Moco Boutique, and Imagine Baking, and competitive site development awards secured for the Hogrefe Building & 2509 Hayes Ave.

NINE | A New Firelands Forward Website
As the collaborative took off, the team also launched a redesign of their website in October of this year. We streamlined the format and added information catered to the specific needs of diverse clients - Students, Jobseekers, Employers, & Educators. 

TEN | Teacher Business Bootcamp
In partnership with the Erie County Business Advisory Council and other community organizations, the bootcamp enabled educators to participate in 5 days of business tours in Erie County to learn local career opportunities available for future high school graduates within the region. 
ELEVEN | Employer Resource Network for the Firelands
With the support of Norwalk United Fund, Firelands Forward is operationalizing an Employer Resource Network (ERN) in our area. A best practice program, the ERN will provide participating businesses with a Work Wellness Coach to work directly with employees and employers on-site and assist with recruitment, retention, and potential employment barriers.
TWELVE | Winter Wonderland Success
We snuck in a favorite holiday moment over the weekend with the Sandusky Winter Wonderland. Hosted by the Erie County Community Foundation, ECEDC was pleased to secure a dozen local makers and entrepreneurs for holiday shopping at the busy site with ice-skating, entertainment, and refreshments.
We hope you enjoyed the ECEDC stroll down memory lane in the annual "Days of Development." There is much cause to celebrate past successes and new beginnings in Erie County. Congratulations to all the businesses featured in our series. We look forward to working with you in 2022!