Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI) has focused on its primary objective: to diversify and strengthen the economies of the 14 counties of Eastern Idaho by retaining and attracting businesses to the region.
“Defining, marketing and driving opportunity to Eastern Idaho has been at the forefront of all of our efforts the past year,” said REDI CEO Jan Rogers. “We started with the basics – branding the region as an Innovation Corridor, updating our web site to further support the region’s image and marketing to a local, regional and national audience. We’re proud to say that we are already beginning to see the fruits of our efforts,” she said.
REDI reached regional, state and national audiences with its message attending 10 economic development related conferences, garnering Eastern Idaho stories in four national publications and 15 stories in local media. A national ad campaign for Eastern Idaho’s four regions will debut this November in the Idaho Economic Development Business Magazine. And Making the Business Case for Eastern Idaho will be featured in the November December issue of Expansion Solutions magazine.
“Our largest outreach so far for the region was at the SelectUSA conference in Washington DC this past June,” Rogers explained. “The conference is for international businesses and governments interested in investing in the U.S. Eastern Idaho’s team of eight joined 13 other Idaho economic development and state representatives at this global conference. In working with other partners, we were able to secure Governor Otter as a speaker, just one of two governor’s represented. His presentation was outstanding and really put Idaho front and center to a large national and international audience. We made direct contact with potential investments for Eastern Idaho and will continue to foster those initial leads,” Rogers said.
Idaho’s media outreach was substantial thanks to Governor Otter’s presentation – over 60 million readers were reached with Idaho’s story, what would have cost $715,000 in advertising.
REDI is fostering five good new business leads that include both potential new investments as well as possible expansion of existing operations. It is also working closely with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to support and coordinate economic development opportunities on reservations.
To address the talent development issue of attraction and retention, REDI commissioned an Eastern Idaho Millennial Research Study that is currently underway. The study includes running five focus groups to find out what millennials like about our region, what they are looking for in regards to long-term employment and quality of place to remain here. The results will be announced later this winter.
“Building relationships and securing economic development support within our communities is an important aspect of our ongoing efforts,” Rogers explained. “By attending city and county meetings, summits and conferences, coordinating industry regional tours, networking, keeping our partners updated via our e-newsletter and participating in panel discussions, we’re able to keep engaged with our local, regional and state partners,” she said.
As REDI’s strong economic development efforts continue and regional collaboration takes hold, success will not only benefit each community but all of Eastern Idaho.