Economic Opportunity a Focus in Eastern Oregon

Economic Opportunity a Focus in Eastern Oregon Main Photo

3 May 2021


Small businesses are the lifeblood of economic development in many communities. They add character to communities, create jobs, strengthen the economy and offer unique experiences and memories for families. Economic Development Corporations play a critical role in assisting those businesses achieve success. This spring is an excellent time to recognize the efforts by these businesses and EDC’s that the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) proudly partners with. May includes two recognition weeks that mesh with that support - Small Business Week and the 2021 National Economic Development Week.

Small Business Week

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has historically held its National Small Business Week in the first week of May each year. The COVID-19 pandemic forced 2020’s event to occur in September, but many organizations are planning to celebrate small businesses from May 2-8 in 2021. In its 2019 Small Business Profile, the SBA Office of Advocacy indicated 59.9 million employees, or 43.7% of the entire U.S. employee workforce, worked for small businesses. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics Business Employment Dynamics indicates that from 2000 to 2018, small businesses created 9.6 million net new jobs, accounting for nearly 65% of all net new jobs in the U.S. 

Promoting small businesses is an excellent way to help support a community’s overall economy.  A 2018 report from American Express stated an average two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses in the U.S. stays in the local community and every dollar spent there creates an additional 50 cents in local business activity. As an added incentive, every ten jobs created at a local business support an additional seven jobs within the community.

National Economic Development Week

Economic Development Organizations (EDO) provide a critical support structure for small businesses and other economic contributors to their local community. The sixth annual National Economic Development WeekNational Economic Development Week (EDW) is May 9 to 15 and represents an opportune time to reflect on the importance of local economic development efforts to building a vibrant and sustainable community. The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) created EDW in 2016 to help increase awareness of local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities and improve the quality of life in communities everywhere. 

EDW is a chance to recognize economic developers, the local leaders and organizations who work tirelessly to recruit investors, develop businesses, create jobs, enhance the tax base and ultimately improve the quality of life of their communities. There are many resources available for those looking to participate in this year's events. The IEDC’s #EDW2021 Toolkit offers a number of ideas, while using #EconDevWeek can help amplify the value EDOs have in a community. This excellent video, created by Economic Development Winnipeg, is a fun way to help with that message.

OTEC has made economic development and community support a priority, providing affordable electricity to over 56,000 people, making it easier for families to live and businesses to operate in Eastern Oregon. Visit OTEC’s Economic Development website or contact Erica Jaensch at to see how we can help today!