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EDA Collaborative Efforts in California Turn Wildfire Devastation into Economic Growth (Article)

Like the Phoenix rising from the burning flames to restore and make anew, so have local efforts in California help turn destruction into prosperity.

In 2015, the Butte Fire destroyed 70,868 acres. In the aftermath, a partnership between the Calaveras Chamber of Commerce, Calaveras County, and the California Association for Local Economic Development led them to reach out to EDA with a plan to rebuild and restore.

As a result, in 2016 EDA awarded a $250,000 grant to the Central Sierra Economic Development District to help staff, equip, and implement workshops at the Calaveras Business Resource Center (CBRC). A building owned by the county was offered as the local match.

In April 2017, the CBRC opened its doors to the public. This “One Stop Resource Center" provides educational opportunities to start a new business, sustain an existing business and grow a local business’s customer base beyond the county. It also connects business owners through networking and collaboration and provides professional support that helps businesses navigate operating a business in the county.

The CBRC, to date, has worked on over 30 substantive projects with business owners, assisting them with business financing, planning and hiring. Over the past two years, assisted businesses created 24 jobs, retained 54 jobs, and made $181,500 in private investment.

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