In April 2016, the City of Salem launched a small business retention program to address the needs of smaller traded sector businesses (less than 25 employees), as well as broader business needs within the Urban Renewal Area (URA). This work informed changes to the City’s urban renewal financial incentives and development of new tools to assist with business growth, further supporting the build-out of the Salem-Keizer Career and Technical Education Center for workforce development.
- The City of Salem benefited from the relationships established through the OEDA network to develop and implement its small business BRE program.
- SEDCOR, Lane County, Clackamas County, Marion County, and the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, as well as many local partners, all played a role in formalizing Salem’s small business BRE program.
- Several of the growing businesses that the City met with are in sectors that are also target sectors for regional and statewide partners. Since many of these firms are small, family-owned businesses, they may not have made the new investment in equipment or building expansion without the Urban Renewal assistance.
- The City has outreached to more than 240 businesses, including personal contact with 63 North Gateway URA businesses.
- As a result of that outreach and changes to the North Gateway URA grant program to expand eligibility, 10 businesses received commitments for funding to assist with equipment or expansion.
- In 2016-17 the North Gateway URA grant program committed more than $2.2 million for capital improvements to support business growth, including $1 million for the Salem-Keizer Career and Technical Education Center.
- North Gateway URA funds leveraged more than $16.2 million in private funding and contributed to creation of an estimated 60 new permanent jobs and more than 100 construction jobs.
- The City continues to strengthen relationships with the large concentration of Latino businesses and organizations in the area, including the Latino Business Alliance and Enlace (a start-up Latino community organization).
- The business investments contribute to overall tax growth for Salem.
- These success stories help reduce blight and declining investment within the North Gateway URA, attract new private investment, encourage the growth of family wage jobs in the community, and develop a proactive strategy for engaging small, traded-sector businesses within the community.