Strategic Partner Spotlight: CREDC

CREDC President Jennifer Baker says the business development pipeline has “held on very strong” through the pandemic

Courtesy of CREDC

Since 1982, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) has “served as Clark County’s leading economic development organization, connecting companies to the resources they need to expand or locate in the region,” according to the organization’s website.

“CREDC is a public-private nonprofit organization, and we work to recruit and retain business investment in Clark County,” said CREDC President Jennifer Baker. “We reach out to existing businesses to offer support, businesses that are looking to expand or may be facing challenges of sustainability – we work with them to find solutions to keep them vital in our Clark County landscape. We also work to recruit businesses from outside of the region to invest and help grow job opportunities in the county. Primarily, we work with traded sector companies, those selling goods or services outside the region, helping to introduce net wealth or new money into the region.”

Like numerous other businesses and organizations in the Clark County area, CREDC was affected by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Baker said they were called to community service in some ways that were new to them. CREDC became one of the community partners that worked a lot in the grantmaking space to try to support small businesses during the pandemic. Baker also said that the CREDC team has been working remotely and only on rare occasions do they come into the office.

“Fortunately, we have been able to – through Zoom and other methods – touch base with clients,” Baker said. “There was definitely a learning curve to become comfortable with video conferencing. As for springtime, there have been some groundbreaking ceremonies and activities outside that we’ve been able to celebrate.”

As for the organization’s regular workload, Baker said the business development pipeline “held on very strong.” She said they haven’t seen a slowdown in the number of companies reaching out who are exploring Clark County for their business location.

As CREDC continues through 2021, Baker said they have so many things coming down the pipeline. The organization continues to work on expanding their Just North campaign, which aims to show businesses and their people that they can “live here, work here, experience here.”

“We hear from companies looking to move to the region and they want to know if there is the right pool of employees who will match up with the way the company wants to grow,” Baker said. “They’re seeking to appeal to young top talent that will market the region to them, their opportunities to growing a career. In the same breadth, they’re creating additional marketability to the region when companies ask us if there are individuals skilled in certain areas. We’ve been very targeted in our outreach and campaign both with local university presence but also from other schools where we know there are strong engineering, computer sciences and manufacturing.”

CREDC also recently hosted their Spring Luncheon on the topic of Building Healthy Communities, which Baker said was a really fun and interesting program. She said CREDC will also be continuing its Grow Clark County series podcasts, which turned into a podcast series during the onset of the pandemic and they were unable to hold the in-person Grow events. Baker said the podcasts evolved into more of a one-on-one program covering innovative topics that people are interested in.

Find out more about CREDC and what the organization does at https://www.credc.org/.

CREDC is one of the Vancouver Business Journal’s Strategic Partners. To find out more about our Strategic Partner program and how to become a Strategic Partner, contact Steve McDonagh at smcdonagh@vbjusa.com.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.