“Growing Business; Strengthening Communities” sums up the mission of the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD). NEOEDD is an Individual Development Account (IDA) provider and NP partner serving Baker, Union and Wallowa counties in Northeast Oregon. Lisa Dawson is the Executive Director of NEOEDD and a native of the Wallowa Valley.
In addition to offering IDAs, NEOEDD services include business assistance, training and technical assistance, strategic planning, and program administration/staffing. NEOEDD has been offering IDAs as part of their toolbox for promoting the development of and success of local businesses since 2007. As of May 2011, twenty-nine Oregonians have “graduated” from the IDA program with NEOEDD, a subcontractor with CASA of Oregon.
One example of a successful graduate is Danielle Colnot of Richland Oregon; she and her husband own Snake River Rental and Repair near Baker City. The business rents boats to people who want to go to the many lakes in Northeast Oregon. “We desperately needed a pontoon boat that could carry large groups coming in from Seattle and Portland,” explains Danielle. “Folks come over to fish for sun fish to stock their freezers for the winter.” Danielle saved for and was able to purchase the pontoon boat and a truck to haul the boats through the IDA program.
Danielle is enthusiastic about the Oregon IDA initiative. “My experience was wonderful; the program teaches you life skills for money management for a business and your household.” Danielle sings the praises of Lisa Dawson of the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District who mentored Danielle on her improved financial skills. “Lisa is full of great suggestions.”
As Executive Director of NEOEDD, Lisa enjoys working with entrepreneurs and business owners and appreciates their role in growing the region’s economy. She is proud to be part of an effort to increase technical assistance, networking, skill-building and financing for entrepreneurs. Lisa grew up on a farm in the Wallowa Valley and is committed to working with the people and communities that define the rural region in which she makes her home. Lisa explains,
“For me, the IDA program is an incredible opportunity for local business owners or people who want to be in business to not only improve their financial management skills today but also for the future. Danielle is a great case in point. As a result of the IDA she realized that she could save even with a small income; she’s now saving for her retirement. It is incredibly rewarding to see and be part of that change.”