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CREATE wins Wisconsin economic development award

Metro Wire Staff

CREATE Portage County this week was presented with its 2020 Community and Economic Development Award (CEDA) at the organization’s IDEA Center in Steven Point.

CREATE won the CEDA award in the Economic Development Initiative category, which recognizes innovative economic development efforts that successfully promote growth and prosperity in Wisconsin communities. The award was initially announced at the 2020 CEDA Awards Ceremony, which was held virtually in September.

The CEDA Awards program was established by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) to celebrate businesses, projects, and organizations that are making significant contributions to Wisconsin’s economy. Winners were recognized in the following six categories: Business Retention and Expansion; Economic Development Initiative; Economic Driver; Public-Private Partnership; Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse; and Talent Attraction.

“CREATE Portage County is thrilled to receive a CEDA award, and we would want to thank our partners and supporters who contributed to our success, including many Portage County citizens and community leaders who shared our vision,” said Greg Wright, CREATE Portage County Executive Director. “We are proud of our collective efforts to seek out the creativity of local people and places that are too often left untapped by communities. Our work impacts workforce attraction, social justice, and entrepreneurship to connect our community with its immense potential.”

CREATE Portage County leads community development through arts advocacy, creative placemaking, and activating entrepreneurs. They support public arts and cultural experiences to improve the quality of life and attract new residents to Central Wisconsin.

The organization also oversees the IDEA Center, which is a maker space in Stevens Point for people to invest in their creative ideas and expand entrepreneurship. It offers a blend of social opportunities and workspaces, which allows for creativity, collaboration, and ultimately job creation and new economic activity. Recently, the IDEA Center helped produce high-demand face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“WEDA is excited to partner with the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, the Wisconsin Counties Association, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to present the CEDA Awards and celebrate the efforts of organizations such as CREATE Portage County that are advancing Wisconsin’s economy,” said WEDA Communications Director Michael Welsh. “The mission and accomplishments of CREATE Portage County is truly exceptional and exemplifies the spirit of the CEDA Awards.”

CEDA Award sponsors include Alliant Energy; Dairyland Power Cooperative; Green Bay Packers; Insight Publications; Madison Gas & Electric; U.S. Bank; and Xcel Energy.