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5 Questions with Justin Slattery, Belknap EDC

Economic development corporations are part of the New Hampshire landscape, with one for each of the state’s 10 counties. They are valuable resources; some have loan and bond programs to help businesses become more robust and all have a finger on the pulse of their communities. The Belknap EDC is one of the organizations.

Justin Slattery ~ Belknap EDC

Justin Slattery ~ Belknap EDC

1. What does BEDC do for the Lakes Region community and tell us about your role within the BEDC?

Belknap EDC was founded in 1992 as the Belknap County Economic Development Council. In 2012, we shortened our name to Belknap EDC. We are one of 10 non-profit regional development corporations in the state of New Hampshire. Our primary mission is to promote economic vitality in Belknap County and the greater Lakes Region. Belknap EDC’s strategic goals are:

– Retain and attract young talent.
– Support creative entrepreneurs.
– Enhance workforce development programs.
– Be a pro-active catalyst, partner, investor, and/or owner in property development that enhances quality of place or economic opportunity in Belknap County.

I am the executive director of the organization and responsible for development and implementation of all of Belknap EDC’s strategic initiatives, as well as general administration of the organization.
2. You’ve worked in economic development for a while and across many regions of the state. What is it about the Lakes Region that makes it particularly attractive for businesses?

New Hampshire is a great place to live and work. We’re fortunate to have a quality of life that is second to none. The Lakes Region offers a beautiful natural setting with communities committed to developing an environment that provides businesses with tools to grow and succeed. Whether workforce development resources with local education partners like Lakes Region Community College and the Huot Technical Center, or sponsoring workshops designed to assist businesses with strategic growth and development, the Lakes Region seeks to work closely with our business community to build economic opportunity and sustainability.
3. You recently announced big news about the Colonial Theater building in downtown Laconia. Tell us a bit about that project and what it will do for the community?

Belknap EDC was proud to acquire the iconic Colonial Theatre block this summer. Being a catalyst for redevelopment in the region is the newest strategic goal of the organization, and with thoughtful strategic analysis over the past year, Belknap EDC decided to move forward with purchasing the property. We feel the benefits of a renovated Colonial Theatre will have a very positive impact on Laconia and the region. The community has greatly supported our plans and we look forward to engaging the community more as we move forward with financing the project and new construction. Stay tuned!
4. Putting yourself in the shoes of a business considering moving or expanding to the Lakes Region from out of state, what are two or three things it should plan for to make the transition easy and how does the BEDC help with those things?

There are a wealth of resources available to businesses considering moving or expanding to the Lakes Region. First, our communities are open for business and ready to assist with site questions, available properties, and information about our local schools and other infrastructure and government services available. Second, Belknap EDC partners with the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Lakes Region SCORE to offer technical assistance and business advisement to our business community. Both are a valuable resource for businesses seeking to refine their growth strategies or improve business operations and profitability. Last, Belknap EDC’s revolving loan funds are available to businesses to provide gap financing and supplement conventional financing from a private lender. Our website, BelknapEDC.org, is a comprehensive clearinghouse for available business resources in the Lakes Region.

 

5. What’s next for BEDC?

Belknap EDC will continue to seek innovative ways to deliver business services and feedback from our local stakeholders to ensure we are providing quality tools and resources to the local businesses and eleven communities we serve. We look forward to the year ahead as we continue to build on that foundation and increase economic opportunity and sustainability in the region.