Western Iowa Advantage 2022 Action Plan

Western Iowa Advantage 2022 Action Plan Main Photo

17 Mar 2022


Western Iowa Advantage (WIAD) — the collaboration of economic development officials in Audubon, Calhoun, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Ida, and Sac Counties — rolled out our WIAD 2022 Action Plan after a recent board meeting. All efforts will build toward creating a stronger local, regional, and statewide economy by working together to effectively market the many viable assets of the region. Results will manifest in job retention and creation and improved quality of life.

“This action plan will keep us on track to do what we do best for the region,” said Chris Whitaker, Local Assistance Director, Region XII Council of Governments, “advocate for and provide real services to the businesses in our communities. We assist with everything from location searches, permits, financial/tax incentive programs, utilities, workforce, and demographics, to job-training programs, professional development, education, and more. Our ultimate goals are business retention and to make relocation and expansion easy processes.”

WIAD 2022 Action Plan

1. Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E)

Throughout Q1, WIAD members are focusing on business retention and expansion synchronist visits and reporting. Few economic development programs produce more connections and garner as much success as BR&E visitation programs. Aggregate summaries will be compiled for target industries and WIAD will use this information to customize its efforts to the specific needs of our business community.

2. Partner Business and Community Tours

Beyond the Q1 BR&E visits to gather data, WIAD partners will take the time to tour industrial facilities across the region numerous times during the year. As always, the goal is to make connections between local companies so more money stays here in Iowa and we remain informed of the current challenges facing our local companies. We will conduct regular partner meetings along with these tours and compile performance tracking data.

3. Website Marketing

The WIAD website remains one of our most powerful marketing tools for reaching site selectors and providing our members with up-to-date information. In Q4 2021, the website underwent a complete redesign that included improved features and a new video banner on the welcome page. In 2022, our relationship with Golden Shovel Agency Gatekeeper services will continue to ensure the timely distribution of news, the creation of original content to promote our business success stories, and the management of social media outreach. 

4. Marketing to Partners

In addition to the website, a quarterly newsletter will be developed and distributed to keep our partners and stakeholders informed. The Annual Meeting and Annual Report will also be developed, conducted, and produced.

5. Housing Developer Attraction

A continued focus for 2022 will be housing developer attraction with $20,000 allocated to housing developer regional marketing. This will build off of our 2021 partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) which took advantage of their co-op marketing program to produce the video campaign, “We Know You,” that promoted our local housing opportunities.

6. LOIS Maintenance

In light of our continued focus on site selection and business attraction, LOIS site and building information will be kept up-to-date. LOIS is a national online location analysis tool designed for communities and economic development organizations to promote available site and building inventory. The tool has an integrated GIS component that produces information regarding market, demographics, workforce, infrastructure, housing, business, and industry.

7. Education and Professional Development

The theme for our annual summit/workshop in November 2022 will be Regional Housing. This summit will work to further our goal of expanded housing. Additional support Region XII Workshops will cover topics like newly elected officials, nuisance abatement, planning and zoning, tax increment financing (TIF), and more.

Six business development webinars/podcasts are planned to cover topics important to our business community and partners such as entrepreneurship, business planning, business finance, visibility and expansion, diversity, and succession planning.

Membership in the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) will continue for our partners.

8. Trade Shows

WIAD belongs to the Community Venture Network (CVN) which links expanding businesses with the rural Midwest. For WIAD members, attendance to the private events held in Minneapolis each April, August, and December will be supported, including stipends. At these events, member communities meet with eight to ten businesses that are looking to explore expansion and partnership options in rural communities. Direct interaction at these meetings with decision-makers who provide detailed information about their businesses and needs leads to meaningful economic growth without any runaround.

Western Iowa Advantage: It’s Easier Here!

Western Iowa Advantage is committed to facilitating ongoing improvements in our region’s economy, quality of life, and tourism. Contact us today at 712.792.9914 or info@westerniowaadvantage.com and see how easy it can be!  

Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.