AEDC was created in 1978 by a group of Arcata business and community leaders to help grow the city's economy through assistance to local businesses and homeowners. Today, AEDC is a 501c3 non-profit organization that makes capital available to borrowers in a six county region who don't have access to funds from traditional sources.
LENDING PROGRAMS AND MORE -- Since its beginnings, Arcata Economic Development Corporation has developed a meaningful track record of contributions to life in the North Coast region. Originally established to provide lending services to the City of Arcata's Community Development Block Grants revolving loan program for housing rehabilitation and small business development, AEDC has expanded its service area and its lending program. The AEDC service area includes the Northern California counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Siskiyou and Trinity, with most loans made in Humboldt and Mendocino counties. The six county service area encompasses a population of about 300,000.
AEDC products and services are designed specifically to meet the needs and demands of this market by providing access to capital with terms that allow for more risk tolerance and term flexibility. The combination of financing and technical assistance available to AEDC clients creates a significant opportunity for business development.
COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS --Over $1.8 million in grants have been managed by AEDC in the past several years on projects ranging from leading the development of "Humboldt Harvest," a regional brand for local food products, to supporting development of a hardwoods industry, to preparing Community Action Plans, and to purchasing display cabinetry for the California Regional Visitor Center and Arcata Chamber of Commerce facility, which promotes the area's tourism businesses.
THE PROSPERITY SCHOLARSHIP INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT (IDA)matched savings and education program offers business classes and counseling, financial counseling and a 2:1 savings match scholarship for low to moderate incmoe microenterprise business owners to purchase a business asset.
SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS is AEDC's annual celebration of Small Business. In keeping with AEDC's committment to building and celebrating a strong economic development community, the event has become a celebration of AEDC business success stories, and a celebration of our community partners. Previous events have seen recognition of businesses such as Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove Chevre as Small Business Owner of the Year; and Nor-CAN's award for businesses that support local non-profits. In 2010, AEDC will share the Spotlight with North Coast SBDC as they celebrate 25 years, with Humboldt County Office Of Education as they announce their winners of the Young Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition; and Nor-CAN as they select their recipient for their business of the year.
HOUSING REHABILITATION PROGRAM The city of Arcata is working with AEDC to provide an Arcata Housing Rehabilitation program to help low-income home owners make housing repairs with low interest or deferred payment loans.
REGIONAL PARTNER -- As a partner in regional economic development, AEDC fosters efforts to recover from reliance on resource-based industries like timber and fishing by supporting regional economic policies such as Humboldt's "Prosperity!" initiative and by strengthening local economies one business at a time.
SMALL FOOD BUSINESS INCUBATOR -- AEDC built the Foodworks Culinary Center in 1992 with a combination of private and public funding to encourage the growth of the specialty food micro-industry in Humboldt County. As a social experiment and economic model it is often noted in literature in the economic development field as a prototype for community food kitchen and food incubator development.
The 20,000 square foot food processing and manufacturing incubator offered a community kitchen for rent and individual kitchen spaces leased to businesses, as well as marketing and business development training. By its tenth year of operation the facility was fully leased out; over 25 businesses were launched at Foodworks, with more than a dozen graduating to larger facilities. Operation of the facility was a cash drain to AEDC and in 2003 the facility was sold back to the City of Arcata. It continues to be home to several small food businesses.