Until recently, the Headwaters RDC’s economic development activities primarily included providing assistance to communities and individual businesses in the area of business financing, business recruitment and retention, infrastructure financing for industrial park creation and expansion, business incentives, and marketing.  Communities within our Region had only to look at a few basic indicators to know whether their economic development efforts were successful, namely: (a.) Did these efforts create or retain jobs?; (b.) Did these efforts improve the local tax base?; and, (c.) Did the economic vitality of their community improve as a result of these efforts?

Today, however, communities are forced to develop new frameworks from which to establish their economic development programs.  In the new economy, manufacturing jobs are declining and it has become increasingly difficult to attract large employers.  Business competition has increased from a local or regional level, to a world-wide level.  Technology has increased productivity and efficiency, enabling businesses to grow exponentially without adding new employees, and in many cases enabling businesses to actually reduce their workforce.

The Headwaters RDC acknowledges that the traditional economic development activities listed above are still very important components of local economic development programs.  In addition to these traditional activities, however, the Headwaters RDC believes communities need to expand their local economic development program to include positioning activities.  Positioning activities are those which enable a community to create competitive advantage over other similar communities.  It is these advantages which, in turn, can help them to draw and retain employers to their area.

Community positioning activities might include things such as improving the local labor force by increasing high school graduation rates; expanding the availability of secondary education opportunities; improving the quality of life amenities in order to attract and retain new workers; and, increasing the level of technology available to businesses.

The Headwaters RDC provides assistance to communities both in these traditional economic development areas, and also in helping them to undertake the activities necessary to position themselves for economic success in the new economy.

Economic Development Services/Products

  • Direct Business Assistance
  • Research
  • Grant Writing
  • Strategic Planning

Please select any of the projects below that interest you to read more about our economic development activities.

Ingenuity Frontier Cluster Development Project
Rural Energy Development Initiative (REDI)
Blackduck Business Development Strategy
Lake of the Woods County Business and Talent Marketing Plan
White Earth Economic Development Strategy
Headwaters Renewable Energy Collaboration

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