Arlington Wins at VEDA Economic Development Awards

March 29, 2023 | By Cara O'Donnell


In this era of digital tools, teleworking and Zoom meetings, there’s still nothing quite like good old fashioned face-to-face collaboration when it comes to the business community.

Sometimes, it’s good to just sit down and talk things out — whether it’s concerns about space, workforce or possible expansion plans. That’s exactly what the Arlington Economic Development Business Investment team encountered last year during Business Appreciation Month.

AED staff, County leaders and community ambassadors came together for a series of individual visits to more than 40 Arlington companies in a two-week period last May, allowing companies to meet with a variety of ambassadors and connect them with valuable resource partners as well as providing them with information on everything from workforce programs and financial incentives to community initiatives, AED services and much more.

And now, the Virginia Economic Development Association has recognized AED for those efforts as one of the top initiatives for business retention in the Commonwealth. Arlington Economic Development was awarded a Community Economic Development Award for Business Retention and Expansion for its Business Appreciation Month Outreach program, which directly led to the County’s ability to support several companies in their upcoming office expansions, which totaled nearly 60,000 SF of new office space and 350 new jobs.

In addition to the recognition from VEDA, these one-on-one collaborations also helped to develop some of this past year’s most exciting initiatives, including the Arlington TALENT Pilot Program, which is helping to address local tech workforce shortages, as well as some of the efforts put forth in the commercial market resiliency initiative, which has allowed for potential new uses in commercial corridors that can help make those corridors even more attractive to employees returning to the office.

It was also the catalyst behind the creation of last fall’s REV Awards, which highlighted fast-growing companies in the areas of revenue, employment and venture capital.

While the AED team is connecting with businesses throughout the year, this particular outreach was instrumental in helping Arlington’s business community find the resources and partners they need to reach their goals and also gave us valuable insight on the investments the department should be making to ensure our community remains one of the leaders for business.

Planning is already underway to honor Arlington’s business community again this May.