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In The 'Hood The world's growing at Internet speed, but your local economic development agency's still watching out for you.

By Jacquelyn Lynn

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Just about every metropolitan area in the country has aneconomic development organization that's probably best knownfor attracting new business and industry. Ever thought about whatthese agencies can do for existing businesses? The answer, in manycases, is plenty.

Though the specifics vary by organization, many economicdevelopment agencies offer services geared toward expansion andretention, as well as recruitment. The Economic DevelopmentCorporation of Utah (EDCU) is a good example. "Any of theeconomic data or tools we have that are used by corporate siteselectors can also be used by existing businesses," says ChrisRoybal, vice president of EDCU in Salt Lake City. Such informationmight include data on the labor market, utilities, taxes, financialresources, various incentives and more.

The EDCU also operates a supplier database to help companiesfind needed materials from in-state vendors. Yet another servicethe agency offers is networking and referrals, using its owncontacts to bring together companies that need the services andorganizations that provide them.

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