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September 28, 2016

City Recognized by International Economic Development Council

WAYNESBORO, VA- The City of Waynesboro, Virginia received two Silver Excellence in Economic Development Awards in the population less than 25,000 category from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The Council recognized the City for two projects focused on developing small businesses: 
  • Grow Waynesboro Website – Special Purpose Website
  • An Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting a Business in Waynesboro, Virginia – Special Purpose Print Brochure
“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to City of Waynesboro. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use a benchmark.”  - Barry Matherly, CEcD, FM, IEDC 2016 Board Chair, President & CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership.
               
The Grow Waynesboro website serves as the marketing and outreach arm of Grow Waynesboro, a flagship initiative of the City of Waynesboro’s Economic Development department to support new, locally owned and located small businesses. The website is part of a multi-tier effort including print, social media, and interpersonal interaction to stimulate excitement and interest in the entrepreneur development program.   The initiative was made possible by a grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
 
Courtney Cranor, Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism, led the effort to create the website with collaboration from Meghan Williamson of Pine Knot Projects. Having an attractive and interactive website is critical to reach entrepreneurs and GrowWaynesboro.com served to not only market the program but also as a portal for the 24 business plan competitors to submit proposals. Those entrants were awarded over $25,000 in assistance and training. Cranor also partnered with Waynesboro High School’s Advanced Marketing class, who created interviews of Waynesboro residents published on the website. The site serves as the City’s main location for entrepreneurship information, encouragement, and mentorship.
 
An Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting a Business in Waynesboro, Virginia arose from a need to inform new business owners how to carry out the steps for a successful business. “Starting a business can be a complex endeavor.  Many prospective entrepreneurs don't know where to start or have awareness of all the steps necessary to start and continue a successful business,” observes Greg Hitchin, Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “This brochure was designed to provide entrepreneurs with a clear path to starting a business in Waynesboro.” 
 
The brochure takes the traditional checklist one step further by showing the sequential pathway of launching a business in a game board format.  Resource partners are noted along the way and summarized with contact information within the brochure. Hitchin credits Mountain Laurel Studio of Waynesboro with creating the visually stunning and easy-to-follow layout.
 
The guide can now be accessed in an interactive online format both at the Grow Waynesboro website and at waynesboro-startup.com.
 
IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
 
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,400 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base.  From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. www.iedconline.org
 
About City of Waynesboro Virginia
Waynesboro is strategically located in the I-81 corridor in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The city has a growing population of 21,000 within its 15-square-mile borders and is adjacent to 2 interstate highways, 3 railroads, 4 byways, and 5 airports allowing for easy and efficient connection to the world. The City has a strong heritage of manufacturing excellence and is a regional retail center and a major tourism hub.
 
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