The Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI) has served Northern Arizona for more than seven years. SEDI provides value to the region in many ways including:
Supporting small and entrepreneurial businesses. SEDI launched the Dollars for Dreams micro-loan program this year and expects to help realize the dreams of start-up, existing and home-based business enterprises which lack established credit and access to small amounts of capital. This micro-finance loan program will assist local small business and micro-enterprises by providing up to $5,000 in short term financing, helping them establish credit and develop sound financial management practices. SEDI anticipates that this unique micro-loan fund will serve approximately 25-50 local businesses a year. And by joining the Northern Arizona Capital Fund, we have created the first step in a program that includes the City of Flagstaff, ECoNA and NACET. By helping 25 - 50 local businesses, through job creation and business launches we can impact more than 100 community members this year.
Attracting sustainable businesses to the community. Just this Fall, SEDI brought VTT Technical Research Centre to Flagstaff for meetings with local businesses. As a result of these meetings, VTT has set up visits by Northern Arizona firms with their engineers in Finland. VTT offers possible solutions for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI), has over 3,000 employees and an annual revenue of nearly US$400,000,000. SEDI is playing a key role in encouraging VTT's development of relationships with Northern Arizona businesses and is working with the City of Flagstaff Economic Vitality pision, ECoNA and NACET.
Promoting community and micro-enterprises. SEDI is playing a key role in developing a micro-entrepreneurship center and community-supported marketplace in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Flagstaff to catalyze entrepreneurship, provide enterprise incubation, and grassroots community leadership. This project will help revitalize this culturally perse neighborhood and address the substantial potential for micro-enterprise development. Training around simple business needs such as marketing, sales, accounting, business plan development, etc, will be facilitated in one-on-one and smaller workshop style settings more easily accessible to the community. This proposal for a Marketplace and Entrepreneurship Center fills the current gap in business resources in Flagstaff and provides a tremendous opportunity to a perse range of Flagstaff residents whose needs are not currently being met. We have already been successful in helping to raise $30,000 from Morgan Chase for this important program.
Encouraging sustainability education. The SEDI Teacher Awards for Sustainability Education is now in its fifth year and has proven to be a successful tool to encourage and reward teachers that incorporate sustainability education into their curriculum, grooming our future leaders to be strong stewards of economic development. We have now increased the value of the awards to $10,000.
Local food business development. SEDI recognizes the importance of food production to the region and is actively fostering the advancement of the industry. We recently worked with a local Flagstaff company to help them secure a significant food contract. We are currently working with non-profits, growers and producers, buyers and the investment community to create new opportunities for the local food industry including coops, food hubs and aggregators.