City of Hayward logoThe City of Hayward and its Economic Development Division received two Excellence in Economic Development Awards this month from the International Economic Development Council for its work attracting advanced industrial investment and providing grant support to local small businesses.

The recognitions by the IEDC, a non-profit organization of more than 5,000 members drawn from government, industry, universities and business associations worldwide, reflect Hayward’s economic diversity and City initiatives to enhance, foster and sustain local business and employment from mom-and-pop shops to cutting edge industrial innovators.

“The Economic Development Team is proud to have earned international recognition for the city’s proven efforts to attract advanced industry companies and move the needle in the economic equity and inclusion space,” said Economic Development Manager Paul Nguyen.  “Hayward is the Heart of the Bay.  It is our diverse small businesses and the residents they employ that serve as the lifeblood of the community’s character and vitality.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards were announced Oct. 5 during the organization’s annual conference in Nashville, TN.  The awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders, according to IEDC.  Twenty-five award categories recognize and honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive economic change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.  Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers following a nomination process held earlier this year.  The IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.

The City of Hayward received recognition in the Economic Equity and Inclusion category for its Small Businesses Assistance Grants Program.  This program was specifically designed in 2018 to help grow Hayward’s minority- and women-owned business community.  Using an allocation of Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, staff developed a program to provide low barrier financial assistance.  Staff identified microenterprises (businesses with 5 or fewer employees), through extensive outreach, including personal visits, and multi-lingual application materials to shepherd application submissions.  In the first year the City was able to aid 15 businesses.  Due to the positive impact of the program, the Economic Development Division received additional funding to assist 15 more businesses in 2019, and 30 businesses in 2020.  This program later evolved into the City’s COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Grant program, the country’s first COVID-19 small business assistant program, which awarded 81 grants in under six weeks. This program was replicated by jurisdictions in California, New York, and Florida.

The City also received recognition under the Public-Private Partnership category.  In 2019, the City partnered with Shea Properties to create the Shea-Hayward Center Business Park at Eden Shores. The collaboration created a Planned Development District specifically designed to attract advanced industry businesses and create STEM job opportunities.  Entitlement of the four buildings, totaling 275,000 square feet, involved creating a list of allowed uses consistent with the City’s targeted industry clusters.  In 2019, the business park was fully leased adding over 400 jobs to the community.  Tenants include a solar hardware manufacturer, an industrial 3D printer, an ambulance training facility, and a biotech software company.

This project also enhanced the quality of life in the area. With the potential of the hundreds of new industrial employees, the adjacent retail project became viable. The retail center was completed in 2019 and houses 11 new businesses including six new eating establishments, a bank, a fitness facility and two personal service businesses employing over 150 employees and generating additional sales tax for the City.  This area of Hayward is a “Complete Community” providing residential, commercial and job centers within a one-mile area.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and President and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara, Tom Kucharski. “We’re incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year’s Excellence Awards. This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year’s recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.”