Williamson County Economic Development Partnership received a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for its Williamson County Funding Portal in the category of Special Purpose Website for communities with populations of 200,000-500,000 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the 2015 IEDC Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska.
“From localized community projects, to large scale endeavors, economic development efforts have played a vital role in the global economy,” said JoAnn Crary, CEcD, Chair of the International Economic Development Council and President of Saginaw Future Inc. “As we address new and longstanding challenges, these efforts continue to take on even greater importance. The award serves as a salute to pacesetting organizations like Williamson County Economic Development Partnership for leading the charge.”
The Williamson County Funding Portal was born out of a need to offer start-up businesses and entrepreneurs in Williamson County, TX an additional resource to receive funds and assistance. Economic development incentives are often framed for larger, more established companies, while smaller, start-up businesses are also vital to a thriving and diverse local economy.
Area economic development professionals saw an opportunity for a crowdfunding website as a way to foster entrepreneurs and offer them a venue to obtain needed capital. With the ability to maximize smaller contributions, crowdfunding has become the latest tool young enterprises, that may otherwise struggle to secure traditional financing, are using to find the necessary funding to grow their operations.
Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Round Rock all leveraged their economic development funds to start this partnership and get the WilCo Funding Portal off the ground and online. Following the initial “unveiling,” the businesses on the site have taken their “road shows” to the other communities in the County to inform them of the portal, as well as potential investors on the individual projects. The portal has bridged a gap between the traditional, public, economic development entity and the small, private businesses and entrepreneurs in the County.
Recipients of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards demonstrate to an experienced panel of judges that they are at the forefront of the economic development profession. They are recognized as 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 4,600 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.
Williamson County Economic Development Partnership
The Williamson County Economic Development Partnership was founded in 2014. The partners are Williamson County, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Leander, Hutto, Taylor, and Jarrell. The goal of the group is to broaden the tax base and create good jobs for all the communities in Williamson County.