KEDA: Moving ahead on mission

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Jeff Ratcliffe, director of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance, gives an annual report on the organization at KEDA’s monthly meeting Wednesday.

HANCOCK — The Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) is making progress on reaching its strategic goals, Executive Director Jeff Ratcliffe said in his annual report Wednesday.

Goals identified through KEDA’s strategic plan are fostering business growth, improving infrastructure, revitalizing communities, developing and attracting talent, and enhancing cultural and recreational opportunities.

In 2017, KEDA enlarged its board and was recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and began co-location with the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

“I have been working with them, and we’re working to move some of the administrative tasks and to coordinate and start to look at how and where we can make improvements in delivery and economic development,” he said.

KEDA’s new website will also be going live soon, Ratcliffe said.

In business growth activities, KEDA made more than 365 visits to businesses in the area employing more than 1,400 people. KEDA has also made referrals to agencies such as the Small Business Development Council, Michigan Works! and the Michigan Economic Development Council.

In 2017, KEDA made three loans totaling $168,000, with $297,000 in additional investment and 21 new jobs.

“I have at least two (pending), and I suspect at a meeting at 11 o’clock I’ll have a third one that is coming across my desk to look at,” he said.

KEDA also recently secured $88,000 in Rural Development funding for a local company’s $127,000 equipment project. MTEC SmartZone and Michigan Technological University also received $50,000 for a feasibility study into an advanced materials and manufacturing accelerator.

TOMORROW: The review of 2017 KEDA activities continues.