The Whitley County Economic Development Corp. says it has secured two-thirds of a major fundraising goal. The “Start Where You Are” campaign is seeking $125,000 per year and President Alan Tio says the funding will help the organization continue a slate of “exciting and innovative” initiatives. March 3, 2015

News Release

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. – The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced today key community supporters have stepped forward to commit two-thirds of the funding sought in its “Start Where You Are” investment campaign to continue the organization's economic development initiatives.

“We are so thankful to the investors who have stepped forward to support our “Start Where You Are” investment campaign,” said EDC President Alan Tio, “We are poised to continue a number of exciting and innovative programs that fulfill our mission to meet the needs of any stage of business.”

In recent years the EDC has launched the Agribusiness, Community Development, Medical Device, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBEI) Initiatives to focus economic development efforts on programs and services that are build on Whitley County's strengths. The “Start Where You Are” investment campaign encourages investors to support specific initiatives that are important to them. Investors to date and the initiative(s) they support consist of:

Lake City Bank, Agribusiness Initiative

Micropulse, Medical Device Initiative and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Parkview Whitley Hospital, Community Development and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Whitley County, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative

“Micropulse is pleased to support the EDC's initiative to further promote and encourage entrepreneurs in business ventures. A significant key to our future as a community lies in the hands of those willing to take the risk of starting businesses that will create jobs and pay taxes. Any effort spent on helping these businesses become successful will pay big dividends,” said Brian Emerick, president, Micropulse, Inc.

Examples of specific programming made possible by the “Start Where You Are” investment campaign include the SBEI VentureAccelerator program, which is an accelerator program now in its second cohort that provides funding, coaching, and mentorship to startup and expanding businesses, and the Industry Immersion program, which connects high school educators with leading employers for immersive half-day sessions to explain employers' skills requirements and to introduce some of the globally competitive businesses that are active in Whitley County.

“The City, County, and Towns continue to provide nearly all of the EDC's operating funds, which frees the staff to focus on working with clients to start and grow businesses throughout our community,” said County Commissioner George Schrumpf, “I am grateful to see community leaders stepping forward to support specific programs that the EDC is developing to support our businesses and communities.”

Recognizing the importance of agriculture to Whitley County's economy, the EDC is also developing the Agribusiness Initiative to raise awareness of this important industry sector, bring together business and community leaders involved in agribusiness, support connections to EDC industry clients, and promote education connections to local high schools and regional colleges and universities.

“Over its nearly 25 year history, the EDC has become a focal point for efforts such as the Agribusiness Initiative, which is bringing together leaders from throughout Whitley County,” said Lake City Bank Senior Vice President Joe Kessie, “We are pleased to support this initiative and look forward to participating in it to build on this important sector of our local economy.”

Finally, the EDC is also involved with numerous efforts to promote community development, for example sponsoring the Columbia City Main Street Association and promoting collaboration among Indiana Main Street (IMS) organizations in Churubusco, Columbia City, and South Whitley. The EDC will soon launch the Illumin8 program to promote startup and expansion of local businesses in downtown locations.

“Local economic development is important to Parkview's ongoing commitment to Whitley County, understanding that a strong and vibrant community can help to promote a healthier community,” said Scott Gabriel, president, Parkview Whitley Hospital. “We appreciate the opportunity to support the EDC's ongoing initiatives as it allows us to further our mission as we work to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve.”

About Whitley County EDC

The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients' growth and success. Our mission is to lead a comprehensive economic development program that retains and expands employment opportunities for local residents and attracts business investment to Whitley County. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit: whitleyedc.com.

Source: The Whitley County Economic Development Corp.

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