Business Pulse: Economic Development Is Sustainability

by Jim Schuessler, Executive Director, Door County Economic Development Corporation

Editor’s Note: With this issue we introduce Business Pulse, a regular column from the staff of the Door County Economic Development Corporation focused on ideas, news and trends impacting business owners in Door and Kewaunee counties.

The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving the economic vitality of Door County and its citizens. To accomplish this, we focus on several priorities, including workforce development, business attraction and retention, entrepreneurial development and nontraditional finance.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide updates about our progress toward those priorities.

At times, we will try to explain why we have chosen which priorities on which to focus.

There are many reasons why it is important to focus on economic development, but they generally point toward one goal: sustainability. Any business not focused on the future is likely in decline. Parents often prefer to keep their children (and grandchildren) close, but that requires opportunities for those children to thrive locally. Door County guests and prospective new residents alike tend to value places that operate their businesses using sustainable methods.

Technology is rapidly changing. For example, the iPod was introduced in 2001. The iPod Shuffle and Nano were discontinued two years ago. The only remaining iPod sure looks like a phone.

In 2007, the iPhone was introduced, and the demand for broadband has grown exponentially.

Economic-development organizations have to remain cognizant of the “zig and zag” of the economy, as well as the future needs of business.

Ten years ago, unemployment here was double-digit. Today we have more jobs available than people to fill those jobs.

DCEDC’s Strategic Work Plan is designed to address Door County’s future economic needs to ensure we are delivering on our mission of improving the economic vitality of our county.

As mentioned earlier, one of our goals is entrepreneurial development. To that end, on Jan. 28, DCEDC, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, will begin our Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP). This program includes a grant, so if you are seeking to start a business, purchase an existing business or grow your existing business, we highly recommend the ETP. Enrollment is limited, so we encourage you to sign up soon.

For more information, visit