About the San Juan County Economic Development Council
The San Juan County Economic Development Council (EDC) strives to strengthen and diversify the economy of San Juan County. We believe a strong economy builds a strong community.
The EDC works to build an environment that helps business owners create jobs. We serve business: linking organizations and resources, providing valuable information, rendering assistance and advocating for an improved island business environment.
Our Role in the State
The San Juan County Economic Development Council is an Associate Development Organization (ADO) for the Washington State Department of Commerce. An ADO is defined in RCW 43.330.010 as “a local economic development non-profit corporation that is broadly representative of community interests.” Each county’s ADO is designated by a county’s council of government and serves as its lead agency for economic development.
In 1964, a group of island business and civic leaders called the San Juan County Economic Development Committee asked a question:
“Is it not unreasonable to consider that if you have a method that must be improved, a product that must be built, a problem that needs to be solved or an idea that must be born, to provide your thinkers with one of the most pleasant places in the U.S.A. to accomplish these needs? For a problem or a plant, a laboratory or an idea factory, there is no place better than the San Juan Islands.”
Fifty years ago, few could have imagined the Internet, broadband telecommunications, globalized markets or knowledge-based economies. Yet this farsighted study envisioned opportunities to create “industry involving research or scientific study.” The authors noted that “living conditions here are conducive to imaginative thinking,” and advocated “placing small research labs, plants or offices in the islands.”
In 2003, another group of island business and civic leaders created a nonprofit organization called the San Juan County Economic Development Council, or EDC, to provide support to local businesses and startups.
In 2009, the Agricultural Resources Committee (ARC) Coordinator joined the EDC to continue serving the Agricultural Resources Advisory Committee of San Juan County as well as to handle economic development projects within the Agriculture Segment of the San Juan County economy. For details about the ARC, see their website at www.sjcarc.org.
The funders of the San Juan County Economic Development Council include: the Washington State Department of Commerce, San Juan County government, the Town of Friday Harbor, the Port of Friday Harbor, San Juan Propane, the Port of Orcas, Island Market, Islanders Bank, Heritage Bank and the Port of Lopez.