In 2016, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties formed the Sonoma-Mendocino Economic Development District (SMEDD). Following guidelines from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA), the two Counties created a multi-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). By forming the SMEDD and developing a CEDS according to EDA guidelines, Sonoma and Mendocino are now eligible for certain programs and resources offered by the Federal government. This collaborative effort was an important step in strategizing for Sonoma County’s future.
Following completion of the 2016 Sonoma-Mendocino CEDS, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB) identified a need for a Sonoma County-specific Action Plan. This Action Plan is to provide a foundation for making decisions related to economic development in Sonoma County. In partnership with the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board and Santa Rosa Junior College, the EDB issued a request for proposal for assistance with the strategy. Through a national search and competitive bidding process, the EDB selected Avalanche Consulting, Inc. to assist in developing this Action Plan, titled Strategic Sonoma.
Strategic Sonoma builds on the 2016 Sonoma-Mendocino CEDS and expands the analysis of Sonoma County’s specific competitive position. Across three reports, Strategic Sonoma includes an assessment of the economic development issues most relevant to Sonoma County; prioritizes needs and new opportunities; evaluates business clusters of opportunity that best match Sonoma County’s assets, values, and goals; and provides a five-year collaborative Action Plan tailored specifically to Sonoma County.
Developing Strategic Sonoma occurred in three phases, with each phase concluding with a report of findings.