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EDC in Willmar, Minn., votes to acquire client management software

WILLMAR -- The operating board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission voted Thursday to invest in software to develop and maintain a client database.

The move will give the EDC several capabilities it hasn't had before, staff members told the board.

The software was developed by Synchronist and is tailored to economic development functions such as tracking and reporting business statistics and keeping track of business retention and expansion among the 2,100 businesses in Kandiyohi County.

It will help provide "the best information we've ever had," said Jean Spaulding, assistant director of the Economic Development Commission.

"Effective tracking of what we do and how we do it is one of the real outcomes we can achieve," she said.

The database also will help assess overall community growth, she said. "We can give some really good data to this board and others on what's happening with economic development across the county."

The software costs $5,000 to acquire and install, and $700 each year thereafter for the licensing fee. EDC officials said the purchase is in this year's budget.

The EDC staff also was directed to develop a draft of a data practices policy for the Economic Development Commission. The policy will address overall practices on releasing and maintaining confidentiality and will include measures that protect sensitive information in the new database.

In other business Thursday, the board approved a $25,000 contribution to the Minnesota Angel Network. The EDC contributed $25,000 last year in start-up money as well. The statewide angel network helps connect early-stage entrepreneurs with private sources of venture capital.

The board was earlier undecided on whether to provide a second round of start-up funding to the new angel network. Steve Renquist, executive director of the EDC, said Thursday that after doing some research, he's satisfied the group is meeting its goals and recommended another $25,000 in funding.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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