EDASC Up Close: BRE visits explained

Thursday, September 05, 2019

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EDASC Up Close is a monthly behind-the-scenes look at programs, activities and policies integral to economic development in Skagit County. Economic development often takes place behind the scenes for months and even years as relationships form and deals are finalized. This series is designed to provide a better understanding of how EDASC works to be your hub for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

MOUNT VERNON – EDASC continually meets with local business owners to listen, learn and offer help.

This local focus is particularly important as most job growth occurs from businesses that are already here.

“Typically, these meetings are listening sessions to learn about business operations, successes and areas of need,” said Tamsin Bell, EDASC Business Development and Expansion Coordinator. “This information is used to customize solutions, share resources and build community connections in an ongoing, supportive relationship.”

These regular check-ins with local businesses fall under EDASC’s work on business retention & expansion, or BRE for short. BRE is one of EDASC’s three pillars, the other two being business attraction and capacity building.

BRE visits are confidential (EDASC is not a public entity and therefore not subject to Freedom of Information requests). The visits occur by request from companies or as routine proactive measures to keep a pulse on the business community.

Information gathered from these visits can be used to identify and solve a company’s challenges, such as those related to permitting, expansion or workforce.

BRE visits also help EDASC identify and track trends in Skagit County that can influence our economic development strategies. One example is the way in which EDASC has partnered with Skagit STEM and Skagit Valley College to begin addressing industry-specific labor gaps.

“These BRE visits can signal what we may need to deal with on a larger scale,” Bell said.

BRE visits can be one-and-done if that’s what the business wants, or they can be the start of an ongoing relationship. For instance, EDASC logged dozens of BRE contacts with VT Volant as it sought its Burlington expansion.

To schedule a BRE visit, contact Bell at 360-336-6114 or tamsin@skagit.org.



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