I’m incredibly proud of the hard work the VEDP team has put in this year. At the top, the team is led by an engaged, energized Board of Directors chaired by C. Daniel Clemente, with hands-on involvement by Governor McAuliffe. With their support, VEDP closed out FY16 with nearly 200 economic development announcements and came in on target for our capital investment goal of $2.7 billion. We aimed to create 13,000 new jobs and surpassed that by creating more than 18,500—142 percent of our goal.
As forecast in our last issue of Commerce Quarterly, VEDP underwent structural changes this year to refine our processes, deliver more for clients and stay competitive. Thanks to our diligent and flexible staff, along with the support of our board and partners, we’ve adjusted well and emerged as a more fluid, cohesive Partnership.
Our most pronounced change is the integration of the Business Attraction and Business Expansion teams, which now reside in the Business Investment (BI) division. These teams were combined to create a more responsive, flexible and unified approach to economic development. In collaboration with local and regional partners, we are better positioned to help retain and grow existing business, and have added more muscle for recruiting new commerce to the Commonwealth. Here’s how we are now positioned to help businesses and diversify the Virginia economy:
• The Business Investment division houses three industry-specific teams—Products, Services and Technologies—to accommodate the needs of current and new businesses. In addition, BI will have an international team with four seasoned managers responsible for lead generation in the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania. Moving forward, we are confident BI will function as a tremendous resource to our clients and partners.
• An exciting addition to the VEDP family is the Competitive Initiatives division, which serves as VEDP’s innovation laboratory and catalyst for getting things done. Competitive Initiatives (CI) has three units: 1) Strategic Ventures develops, tests and executes new ideas, policies and products; 2) the Sustained Growth unit builds on our innovative and unique program, leveraging the power of businesses creating more than two-thirds of net new jobs; these organizations comprise less than one percent of all businesses; and, 3) the Community Engagement unit interacts directly with local and regional partners to provide collaborative support. Competitive Initiatives is an example of where VEDP is going above and beyond just working project leads. We’re taking the lead in enhancing Virginia’s competitive position.
• A well-prepared workforce is the single most important asset for any organization. I’m confident that VEDP is well-positioned to help deliver employer-driven, customized training solutions for our business clientele. The Workforce Development division builds on the long-standing success of the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which we administer, by helping businesses better understand and benefit from a broad array of resources that comprise Virginia’s workforce delivery system, such as higher education institutions, training providers and others.
VEDP is moving in the right direction with incredible momentum. We’re proud to work with so many committed partners and supporters to produce meaningful economic prosperity for all Virginians. This edition of Commerce Quarterly tells part of the story of success. It includes several new initiatives, some key business wins, and insights from people who are helping to realize positive changes.