The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Economic developers seeking to recruit new business to their area face a host of challenges including how to identify and target potential companies. Questions that must be answered include:
Using a new online database that accesses information on over 14 million companies’ worldwide, staff at New Vision is finally able to answer these questions.
“There are 6,052 companies in North America making machinery and equipment for farms and food processors,” said Joe Schmitt, Business Recruitment Director for New Vision. “Two-hundred and thirty-nine of those companies employ more than 50 people and have annual sales over $50 million. If you want the names and addresses of key contacts at the companies, we can get that too.”
The database that provides this wealth of information is Reference USA, a leading provider of business and consumer research.
“It’s a very versatile tool that opens up lots of possibilities for us,” said Jonathan Smith, President of the New Vision. “Not only can we identify companies by industry we can also view the location of those industries in a heat map to help us narrow down specific geographic areas to target.”
In the past, New Vision commissioned a thorough analysis of the County’s assets and identified several industry sectors that are a good fit for the region. The next step is to identify specific companies within those industries and market directly to them.
“It allows us to be proactive in sharing the message of Yakima County to the companies we know we have a competitive advantage for,” explained Schmitt. “Instead of shot gunning our message out to thousands of companies within an industry sector, we can very thoughtfully target a smaller number of companies and deliver a much more compelling message to them.”
Reaching out directly to prospective businesses is one of the key deliverables in New Visions five-year strategic plan to add new jobs and investment in the County.
Before the year’s end, staff at New Vision plan to reach out to at least 30 to 50 businesses in each of the following industries: food processing, logistics & distribution, industrial machinery and supplies, aerospace, back office, and health care.