There is no debate that technology has changed the landscape of economic development. Year after year, economic development organizations across the nation have adapted their approach to meet businesses where they are. The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development continues to stay ahead of its competition by embracing this change and this new fiscal year is set to be its most innovative one yet.
Last Thursday, The Partnership held its Investors Update Event titled “New Year, Same Mission” in the Patton Building at Blue Ridge Community College. The event’s agenda covered all the digital tools The Partnership is using in the new year, including the long-awaited reveal of its recently updated website and new workforce marketing video. After the program, attendees celebrated the organization’s first event of the year with networking, local beer and cider, a charcuterie grazing table, and a champagne toast led by Board Chair of The Partnership, Steve Gwaltney.
The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development continues to introduce new technologies and digital strategies to attract new businesses and workforce. Thursday’s event covered the top 4 digital tools utilized by the organization:
- Updated Website: While a company’s relocation or expansion announcement in Henderson County seems like the start of a project, it’s actually only a small step in a sometimes years-long process. Business attraction used to begin with a phone call or email to an economic development organization. Now, it starts online. While researching potential sites and communities online, business owners and site selectors expect to be able to find up-to-date information easily. That’s why The Partnership updated its website with improved navigation, fresh content and photography, and a more user-friendly layout, making sure these groups of people could find the information they needed quickly.
- ZoomProspector: Most Partnership projects begin with a request for information (RFI), which is a formal process for companies to gather information on potential sites suitable for their expansion or relocation. Having gone through many changes in the last few decades, this submission process is now completely digital. In North Carolina, RFIs are submitted via ZoomProspector, an online platform administered by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), the state’s economic development organization. The Partnership creates digital profiles for available sites, making it fast and easy to submit for projects with just the click of a button. This innovative system saves time and effort for all parties involved with the ability to attach and digitally submit all required and accessory documents, without ever having to leave the office.
- Drone Video: After the RFI process, companies create a “short list” of potential sites and communities suitable for their project. Just a few years ago, the next step would be an in-person visit to see the site and community. Now, companies may delay this in order to save time and travel expenses, choosing instead to do more digital exploration. The Partnership’s response? Bring the site to the company – digitally, that is. Drone footage of Henderson County’s top industrial development sites are used to ensure The Partnership stands out in a sea of RFI submissions.
- Digital Workforce Strategies: So, what does The Partnership do to help existing industry? At the event, The Partnership discussed its recently completed marketing campaign, Career Crossroads. This highly successful two-month campaign blended old and new marketing strategies by utilizing postcard mailers and online paid advertising. It brought over 950 visitors to HendersonCounty.Jobs, The Partnership’s manufacturing specific job board website. And the highlight of the Investors Update Event was the release of the organization’s new workforce marketing video. The video focused on the many benefits and variety of careers available in Henderson County’s manufacturing industry. Fast-paced footage, upbeat music, and a strong video script makes it a powerful tool to encourage growth of existing industry.
Technology has brought change to all industries, but The Partnership’s event showcased the organization’s proactive approach to complex issues. With support from local partners and allies, The Partnership continues to adapt to today’s business climate, but also remains true to its mission of attracting and retaining local jobs. And that is the true secret to its success.
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP
The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, Inc. is a 501(c)6 organization that works to: retain and attract quality jobs; solicit new business compatible with the assets and values of Henderson County; promote Henderson County’s business image; assist expansion of existing companies; and enhance Henderson County’s overall quality of life. Since 1993, it has assisted in the creation and retention of over 3,500 jobs and in bringing almost $1 billion of taxable investment to Henderson County.