Find Virginia economic development agencies, departments, and corporations. Economic development agencies provide information on resources for economic growth, expansion of local businesses, attracting new business and tourism.
An Economic Development Agency is a government agency at the state, county, or local level whose mission is to promote business activity and development, attract and retain business, facilitate development that increases employment and the tax base, and encourage an environment in which the economy can thrive.
Economic Development Agencies promote their state, county, or community as a favorable location to do business. They usually work closely with area Chambers of Commerce and other business groups to market the region for business development. This collaboration often involves creating marketing materials, developing promotional advertising, and organizing business expos.
An Economic Development Agency may include an office dedicated to supporting small businesses. Governments can support small businesses by providing ombudsmen services, helping small businesses work through licensing and permitting requirements, and raising awareness of bidding opportunities on government contracts.
Some Economic Development Agencies actively seek developers for undeveloped land or parcels in need of redevelopment. They may market development opportunities, and in cases where obstacles to development exist, they may help identify gap funding or other solutions to impediments such as site contamination. Many Economic Development Agencies also maintain inventories of available commercial land and commercial building space in order to serve as a matchmaker for developers, landlords, and business owners.
Economic Development Agencies sometimes offer tax incentives to businesses that expand or relocate within their jurisdiction. This strategy is particularly common at the state level, but it also takes place at the county and local levels. Typically, the Economic Development Agency offers a tax incentive or tax abatement based on the theory that the new or expanded business will generate job opportunities and thus increase the tax base.
Grants and non-traditional loans are also available through Economic Development Agencies. Common grants to businesses include Brownfield Redevelopment grants, façade improvement grants, and public improvement grants. A variety of loan programs may be accessible through an Economic Development Agency, often at below-market interest rates and with less stringent credit requirements than loans from traditional financing institutions.