REDI is a public-private organization created to coordinate the economic development activities of the City of Columbia, Boone County, the University of Missouri and the Columbia area community. The REDI partnership brings these entities together to collaborate and provide a comprehensive economic development presence for Columbia and Boone County.
REDI’s goal is to increase the number of living-wage jobs in Columbia and Boone County. REDI does this by attracting new businesses to the area; retaining and expanding existing business; and helping entrepreneurs start new businesses.
Collaboration is important to provide a comprehensive effort, maximize resources, eliminate the cost of duplicate efforts, and increase the area’s opportunities for success in economic development projects. For example, if a business project contacts REDI with parameters for a new project, REDI can pull together a multitude of resources and information from many entities into one comprehensive proposal to present to a prospect. This is one example of how REDI helps Columbia/Boone County put its best foot forward regarding both services and opportunities offered.
Three members of REDI’s staff, who also serve as the City’s department of economic development, are paid by the city. The remainder of the part-time, seasonal and intern staff are also city employees, but are paid with funds that are reimbursed from REDI’s operating fund. REDI’s operating funds are provided by private investors, grant funds acquired by REDI for specific programs, the City of Columbia, Boone County, and the University of Missouri.
The REDI Board consists of 18-20 voting members.
The REDI president reports directly to the City Manager. As the Economic Development department head, the REDI President attends City cabinet meetings and retreats, city council meetings and work sessions, budget meetings, strategic planning meetings, and more. The City Manager also sits on the REDI Board, where representatives of the City, County, University, and other Boone County municipalities and businesses meet to discuss economic development activities and determine together the best path forward on projects and initiatives.
As do all City department heads , the REDI President meets with the City Manager and the City cabinet on a regular basis to share information, and seek and provide feedback. In addition, because REDI has a Board with a monthly meeting, the REDI President and each staff member provides a monthly written report with detailed information about staff activities that is provided to the REDI Board and the City Council.
REDI focuses on recruiting primary businesses that offer a large number of living-wage, full-time jobs, such as manufacturing, life sciences, and high-tech industry. REDI does not recruit nor serve retail or service industries, such as restaurants or apartment complexes. However, REDI’s work is of benefit to these industries, because when the number of residents with living-wage jobs increase, the need for and support of retail and service industries will also increase.
Using code names is the standard procedure for organizations working with recruitment of industry. As part of the process to determine if an area is a good fit for the organization, proprietary information is often exchanged. One example would be a list of requirements to support specific processes or a listed need for raw materials used that the company would not want to make public and therefore available to its competitors. For this reason, code names are used to protect the business. Businesses typically will not consider a location with representatives that do not offer this non-disclosure policy.