Strengthening communities by growing the economy

January 25, 2017|Director's Update

Strengthening communities by growing the economyOur Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness (OEDC) works on domestic and international business development, provides export assistance and other value-added services to small businesses, and partners with the private sector to develop and implement policy and strategies to develop key industry sectors.

With one in three jobs connected to international trade, growing jobs and opportunities through international trade and inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) is a top priority for the Commerce team. Over 40 percent of all Commerce inbound investment leads come from overseas. Washington ranks in the top 20 states for generating FDI.

We’ve assisted 5,296 companies, generating $705.5 million in sales value. Here are some of our proudest accomplishments:

  • Since 2014, the Business Development group created more than 620 jobs and more than $179 million in capital investment.
  • Recent significant inbound investments include: AstaReal Technologies, Moses Lake; Booking.com, Bellevue; Conair/Aero-Flite, Spokane; and MTorres, Everett.
  • In 2016, we worked with the Port of Moses Lake and Grant County Economic Development Council to help Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) move testing of new MRJ airplanes from Japan to Moses Lake. The testing of the four jets will be a collaborative project with Seattle-based engineering firm AeroTec, who will have about 100 employees and about 50 Mitsubishi employees who have transferred from Japan to support flight testing and certification. Another 250 people in Moses Lake will work directly in the jets.
  • Currently, a Netherlands-based integrated provider of cold chain logistics started construction in Pierce County for the company’s first U.S. facility.
  • Active projects currently represent more than $4.02 billion in potential capital investment and over 1,933 potential new jobs added to our state. Our team is a regular with SelectUSA, the largest US-based FDI-focused trade show with 2,500 participants from 70 markets and 52 U.S. states and territories.

More Fast Facts and Highlights from OEDC

Helping small businesses and entrepreneurs:

  • 450 small businesses used State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grants, generating $220 million in new export sales. Last year we were recognized for extraordinary return on investment for every $1 invested. Read more…SBA/STEP leadership & ROI
  • $19.7 million in federal funds leveraged through the Small Business Credit Initiative created $164 million in small business lending. Read about how Vicis is revolutionizing football helmets, thanks in part to investments from the state’s W Fund.
  •  Opened two Startup Centers for Entrepreneurial Success in Asotin and Whitman counties in 2016 to help rural entrepreneurs start businesses in these underserved areas. Centers assisted with 21 new business starts and provided technical assistance to 98 entrepreneurs.
  • Created a pathway to $500,000 in crowdsourced funds for 18 companies through the six-month Fund Local pilot program in 2016.
  • Launched the Economic Gardening program in 2016 with 10 rural companies receiving consulting from state-certified specialists.
  • Held 200 entrepreneur and small business education and training events statewide.
  • Published two new business guides: one on starting a business in Washington, the other a small business disaster planner.

Promoting Washington:

  • $6.4 billion in new capital expenditures generated statewide.
  • 87 recruitment projects won: 65 domestic, 22 international.
  • 235,822 visitors to state’s business recruitment website, 80.5% new
  • 52 international trade shows and trade missions involving 641 small businesses conducted over a five-year period.
  • $24 million in estimated new revenue generated through export assisted sales.

Regulatory reform:

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized this month our Regulatory Roadmap initiative as part of the 100 programs named as semifinalists in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. The Regulatory Roadmap will compete to be named a finalist in the competition and have the chance to be awarded the $100,000 grand prize in Cambridge this spring.

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