MANATEE COUNTY, FL – Manatee County Government Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity (REO)’s #ManateeMomentum campaign won a Bronze Rank honors for Innovation in Economic Development Week from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The award was presented this week at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.
“The Economic Development team worked hard on #ManateeMomentum to recognize and promote our business community during Economic Development Week,” said Geri Lopez, Director of the REO Department. “With both face-to-face and virtual engagement, the team shared ways that emergency grants during the pandemic helped keep businesses running and highlighted economic development achievements. The team also made important connections with business owners and employees in our Southwest District. This IEDC recognition shows how diligently the team works for our business community.”
IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. Award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.
The #ManateeMomentum was held during Economic Development Week, May 9 – 15, and designed to showcase the economic development work of the REO Department. REO partnered with the County’s Information Outreach Division on the project that included a social media campaign, a digital “treasure hunt” of business landmarks (“Spot the Shop”), a poster exhibit at the County Administration Building and local partner locations, an interactive display for County employees, and a Proclamation by the Board of County Commissioners. The week culminated in a pop-up outreach event at the Oneco Market.
“Geri and her team are top-notch,” said County Commissioner Misty Servia. “Their operation has landed phenomenal new industries in Manatee County and created initiatives to support business expansion too. Their work helps to make Manatee County the strong community that we all love.”
The campaign had both digital impacts via social media and physical impacts at a pop-up outreach event. The campaign had an overall reach of 33,003 impressions: 4,277 from LinkedIn, 20,967 from Facebook, and 7,759 from Instagram. A blog post had 92 views and the press release was opened 1,255 times. An Economic Development Week survey received 299 responses. At REO’s outreach event, County staff visited 43 vendors, engaged 23 walk-up patrons and visited 17 storefronts outside the Oneco Market. Every market vendor and storefront received a bag with information on resources available from both the County and our partners.
The project addressed job creation and retention by showcasing the work county staff did in distributing CARES Act funding to local businesses. Marketing materials included the total dollar amount and the number of businesses served by the grant program in addition to testimonials from businesses that received funding. The outreach event held at Oneco Market was an effort to improve overall quality of life by bringing information about programs that not only can help business but also help workers (e.g. childcare resources). Additionally, the event featured the launch of a special credit union product for individuals within a targeted redevelopment area.
“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”