This article was written by Adam Henry, CEcD, Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

Earlier this month, Arlington Economic Development took part in National Economic Development Week, which celebrates the positive contributions that the profession of economic development makes on localities, regions and states across the United States.

National Economic Development Week was established by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the world’s largest organization serving the economic development profession, with more than 5,000 members around the world. Best defined by IEDC, “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.”

As we celebrate the contributions that economic development brings to communities, we also recognize that none of the contributions would be possible without great partnerships and strategic investments to make a community attractive to its existing and prospective businesses.

Below are some examples of partnerships and investments AED has taken part in that support the business community and boost its profile as an ideal location to do business:

  • Gazelle Grant Program — Launched in 2016, Arlington Economic Development’s Gazelle Grant program was designed to be a deal-closing incentive program for fast-growing or “gazelle” technology companies. This program is a tool to help grow the tech ecosystem economy in Arlington by expanding the tech employment base and decreasing the commercial real estate vacancy rate. Since the inception of the program, Arlington Economic Development has attracted and expanded five high-growth technology companies with the Gazelle Grant. To date, the program helped create and retain an estimated 778 jobs and absorb over 83,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance — In September 2019, 10 jurisdictions from Northern Virginia came together to announce the formation of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA). The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, City of Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park and Prince William County Department of Economic Development comprise NOVA EDA’s membership. NOVA EDA was created following the Amazon HQ2 and Virginia Tech Innovation Campus announcements in Northern Virginia to better collaborate as a region and develop a strong brand and story that showcases the value proposition of doing business in Northern Virginia.
  • Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term) Program — In response to the pandemic in 2020, Arlington County partnered with the Arlington Industrial Development Authority and the Ballston, Crystal City and Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts to develop and implement the Emergency GRANT program to support small businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Arlington County supported 393 businesses through the $2.8 million program with awards of up to $10,000 per business.

These examples are only a few of the many ways Arlington Economic Development’s efforts make the community a competitive and viable option for companies to launch, expand and locate their businesses.

Through existing business support and programs to attract new investment to the community, Arlington is well-positioned to diversify its economy further, expand its technology ecosystem, and provide an environment for enhanced economic well-being and quality of life to all its residents.

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