3 Feb 2021
It's no surprise that 2020 brought about a shift in the way that Growth Dimensions Economic Development does business. While our mission has always been to attract, foster and grow business in Boone County, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a time for this organization to roll up our sleeves and dig deeper into community support. Little did we know when we set our 2020 Strategic Plan that our priorities would help us fall in line with what was to come.
Market Boone County
Boone County has countless unique assets and limitless potential, we honed in on ways to promote our county to the world.
In late 2019, the Growth Dimensions logo was updated to emphasize the symbiotic relationship between our agricultural roots and industrial growth, into one concise image; all the while, retaining some elements that have become synonymous with Growth Dimensions.
Using this new logo, new life was breathed into Growth Dimension's social media platforms, website and advertising.
With the new logo in place and a world of opportunity ahead, Growth Dimensions utilized existing and new digital platforms to reach local businesses, global businesses and our community. By utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn Instagram, Twitter and a newly designed and functional website, Growth Dimensions was able share our message, business success and events with every state of the union, the District of Columbia, and 100+ different countries.
We work with partners to develop infrastructure that will help reduce risk for potential businesses interested in locating to Boone County.
Irene Road Corridor
Growth Dimensions continues to work with R1 Planning Council focusing on Irene Road to determine the infrastructure, land use and development recommended for business attraction.
Local and Regional Collaboration
Ongoing collaboration exists with the City of Belvidere on their Belvidere Comprehensive Plan. Additionally, we participate in Regional Economic Development Strategies and Workforce Development Plans.
Connect Businesses & Resources
We connect businesses with resources for investment and growth in Boone County.
Forward Boone County
Growth Dimensions was instrumental in the development of Forward Boone County, a partnership of Boone County leaders representing government, healthcare, education, workforce, businesses and community-based organizations. Together, Forward Boone crafted unified communications, support, and solutions for recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeing the need to support and foster entrepreneurs, Growth Dimensions focuses efforts on developing comprehensive, educational opportunities for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. This program is designed to give entrepreneurs the tools and resources they need to build and grow their business now and keep it sustainable in the future.
With support from the City of Belvidere and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Growth Dimensions was able to secure the Kauffman Foundations FastTrac® Program, a world-renowned entrepreneurial education program, which provides Venture Program participants an immersive course designed to provide information, tips, exercises and tools to help entrepreneurs think about their business ideas.
Automotive Innovation Network
We have set the wheels in motion to bring together regional, automotive leaders, by starting the Automotive Innovation Network. This network will work to identify and address workforce, innovation and training challenges, providing a greater breadth of resources to the automotive industry.
Rock Valley College Advanced Technology Center
With Belvidere Community Unit School District 100's successful proposal to bring RVC's Advanced Technology Center to Belvidere, Growth Dimensions serves as a liaison between Boone County, Belvidere, and RVC, to provide connections to regional, key industry and trades leaders.
Back to Business Grants
The City of Belvidere and the Village of Poplar Grove were successful in securing funds from the State of Illinois' Local CURE Program. These dollars would be used to provide grants to businesses and organizations most affected by the financial impacts of the pandemic. Growth Dimensions worked collaboratively with each municipality to reach businesses and organizations eligible for the grant, as well as assisted with the processing of applications and grant award process. In all, more than $450,000 in grants was distributed to Belvidere and Poplar Grove businesses and organizations.
Sustain Economic Development
Enhance community partnerships to further priorities.
Growth Dimensions was able to secure financial and program support for the Venture Program, in turn providing resources and scholarship opportunities to the 2020 Venture participants. Similarly, we were awarded a grant to begin work on developing a comprehensive resource list to provide the region with a one-stop-shop for business owners looking for reliable and pertinent connections and mentorships. This list, called SourceFinder, is scheduled for completion in 2021 Q2.
In total, $36,750 was obtained through various foundations and partners to support local entrepreneurs and business owners, advancing towards our goal of a collaborative and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Community, Regional and State Collaborations
We have been actively involved in multiple focus groups throughout Illinois. Working with organizations such as Transform Rockford and Region 1 Planning Council, we participate in and lead committees focused on the workforce & talent pipeline and strengthening local business ecosystems.
With a multitude of unknown economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are cautiously optimistic as we journey through 2021. Growth Dimensions will continue to make strides in promoting Boone County assets, developing infrastructure to meet the demands of our businesses and community, and strengthing our business climate through meaningful connections, while supporting and fostering businesses and business owners.
In tandem with our dedicated Growth Dimensions investors, partners and our community, we know we are well-equipped to meet whatever the year may bring and come out even stronger in the months and years ahead.
Let's keep moving forward...together.