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LVEDC Takes Proactive Approach to Business Engagement

By Colin McEvoy on November 20, 2018

Melody Bradford (center), LVEDC Director of Business Outreach, heads the organization's Business Outreach Program (BOP).

Melody Bradford (center) is Director of Business Outreach with LVEDC. The organization’s Business Outreach program is participating in the statewide Engage! program.

This article originally appeared in the November 8, 2018 issue of “Quarterly Connections,” a quarterly newsletter LVEDC distributes to municipal officials in the Lehigh Valley.

The mission of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is to market the economic assets of the Lehigh Valley and to create partnerships to lead the recruitment, growth and retention of employers. The success of that mission is dependent on you as leaders and elected officials representing the 62 municipalities that constitute our Lehigh Valley, are key partners.

To achieve that mission, LVEDC, along with more than a dozen other regional partners, is participating in the Engage! program, a business retention and expansion initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

“For years, LVEDC has used our Business Outreach Program to provide a single point-of-contact for regional companies and help businesses identify resources to succeed,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC President & CEO. “The Engage! program is a natural fit with our ongoing efforts because of its systematic and proactive approach to business engagement.”

Engage! connects businesses with the right local resources, with experts developing a direct relationship between companies to fully understand their business concerns and help connect you with local resources based on your specific needs.

“We will be utilizing all our regional partners to cast a wide net in contacting and engaging employers and channeling information into a single system,” said Melody Bradford, LVEDC Director of Business Outreach Programs. “This will let us both help individual employers, and identify regional strategies to address macro trends and issues.”

LVEDC is administering the Engage! program through the organization’s already long-standing Business Outreach Program (BOP), which uses a customer-oriented approach to economic development designed to link Lehigh Valley businesses to resources and partner organizations throughout the community that will help their business become more profitable.

The goal of Engage! is to create meaningful dialogue to help build lasting relationships with businesses, and to develop a personalized action plan with recommendations, technical assistance, and follow-up steps to address company needs, no matter how large or small.

LVEDC serves as coordinator and manager of Engage! business outreach visits, with several other regional partner organizations participating, including the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley, Manufacturers Resource Center, and Lehigh University Small Business Development Center.

Other participants include Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Allentown and Bethlehem Economic Development Corporations, Governor’s Action Team, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Lehigh and Northampton counties, and the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton.

When business owners reach out to your municipality to begin the process of starting a new business, relocating or expanding their business, or applying for permits – we encourage you to let them know about this program. LVEDC can partner with you to visit and communicate with companies in your municipality to help both you and these businesses accomplish your economic development goals.

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