Focused Planning, Impactful Results…Economic Development in Brookings

By: Kristi Larsen, BEDC Marketing Director

Brookings is recognized throughout the region for its progressive and collaborative approach to growth and development. What role does economic development play in this community building initiative?

Economic development is a process that seeks to improve the economic well-being of a region through business development, job creation and wealth creation. The primary paths to economic growth are business retention and expansion, business recruitment and business start-ups.

The Brookings region has adopted a strategic and proactive approach to growing our economy. This plan is centered around five key concepts:

Smart and Balanced Growth – Reaching a sustainable rate of economic and population growth.

Economic Prosperity – Creating wealth for individuals, households, businesses and the community.

Competitive Business Environment – Providing resources that attract and retain businesses and allow them to prosper.

High Quality Community – Providing an environment and amenities that appeal to existing and potential residents.

High Performance Community – Building a global awareness of Brookings through collaborative leadership and community engagement.

So, how has Brookings done? Let’s take a look at a few important statistics representing the last ten years:

  • City population up 21% to 23,938.
  • Total households up 13% to 8,635.
  • Median household income up 36% to $47,506.
  • Business growth – 100+ new and expanding businesses.
  • Job growth – added 1,300 jobs since the end of the recession.

It’s fair to say the Brookings region has experienced a tremendous amount of growth and success. This progress hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, last year Brookings was recognized as one of the top micropolitans (population between 10,000 and 50,000) in the country!

Our achievements would not be possible without the partnership and collaboration of community and business leaders. Since 2006, the private sector has invested over $7 million through Vision Brookings and leveraged this amount for an additional $25 million for local development projects.   

Here at BEDC, we are proud to lead economic development activities through strategic, data-driven approaches with proven, impactful results. Some of our outcomes in 2018 include:

  • Helped over 150 residents advance their business ideas through our one-stop-shop of entrepreneurial resources.
  • Assisted 195 local businesses with retention and expansion projects and workforce recruitment and retention initiatives.
  • Pursued selective recruitment opportunities with 98 business prospects.

BEDC’s work program over the last 10 years has facilitated an ongoing economic impact in excess of $73 million each year!

We look forward to continued collaboration with community partners on economic development initiatives that will position the Brookings region for long-term economic growth and prosperity.

BEDC Staff: Kristi Larsen-Marketing Director, Al Heuton-Executive Director, Jennifer Quail-Director of Entrepreneur Support, Stacy Aesoph-Director of Workforce Development
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