About the Stark Economic Development Board

The Stark Economic Development Board, Inc. is a private, non-profit business organization formed by business and community leaders in May of 1985 to engage in economic development activities, coach perspective businesses and score big wins for Stark County, Ohio.

Now in its fourth decade, SEDB has one purpose; to grow businesses in Stark County!

Our mission is simple. We help existing businesses grow and expand, attract new companies to our community and help entrepreneurs start new businesses. SEDB is a conduit to funding sources for your business through the Stark County Port Authority and as the local Team NEO/Jobs Ohio Partner. In these lead roles, we can help your business grow through access to private equity and bond financing, State of Ohio job creation and training grants. SEDB also assists with local Foreign Trade Zone and community incentives to help your business succeed. SEDB provides site selection, real estate development, funding for environmental remediation and zoning regulatory compliance support for businesses.

SEDB’s gameplan is straightforward. We are Stark County’s economic development service provider, educator and advocate.

History of Stark Economic Development Board

A private, non-profit corporation, SEDB was created by business and community leaders in May of 1985 to promote economic development activities in Stark County. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and that was the case with SEDB’s formation.

The early 1980s were marked by an extraordinary set of economic trends including high interest rates and high unemployment. U.S. automakers were losing market share to the Japanese, and Stark County’s economy was driven by steel manufacturing and auto industry suppliers which meant trouble for the region’s job market. Something had to be done, and SEDB was formed.

Taking its cue from other successful regions, SEDB took the approach of cooperating with the 10 local chambers of commerce. With that collaboration, the county could compete with the rest of the world rather than compete against itself. The board hired a professional economic development staff and set a goal of rebuilding the local economy with more jobs. With more jobs came more tax revenue to support education and infrastructure, which meant attracting and retaining work forces.

SEDB was set up as a private, non-profit board funded by local companies that would take a regional approach to serve all cities and townships in the county. For the past three decades, SEDB has built a reputation at the local, regional, state and national levels as the No. 1 advocate for Stark County businesses.

SEDB’s mission today is as strong as it was in the beginning: to retain, expand and attract business interests in the area.

Quick Facts about SEDB
  • From the beginning, SEDB was designed to be governed by a Board of Trustees and an Executive Committee made up of community and business leaders representing all of Stark County including Canton, Massillon, Alliance, North Canton and Minerva.
  • SEDB was organized to cooperate with the local chambers of commerce and city, county, state and township officials to enable Stark County to compete regionally and within the state rather than compete amongst itself.
  • SEDB employs a staff of five economic development professionals with the technical skills and experience needed to help strengthen the local economy. Those professionals work to attract companies and assist existing businesses to invest new capital and to create and retain jobs in Stark County. For the past three decades, SEDB has built a strong reputation at the local, regional, state and national levels for its role in helping to support economic development in Stark County and in Northeast Ohio.
  • SEBD’s core competencies include business attraction, business financing, real estate development, zoning and regulatory compliance, funding for environmental remediation, private equity financing, and the administration of the Stark County Port Authority. The chambers' core competencies include membership services and benefit programs, networking, safety and education, business events and festivals.
  • Over the past 30 years, SEDB has assisted more than 1,400 businesses that have retained or created more than 51,000 jobs, as well as more than $2.5 billion in new capital investment in Stark County. That record of accomplishment clearly substantiates the vision of the business and community leaders who created SEDB.

Stark Development Board ©2017.