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Division of Small Business

FY 2018 Annual Report: Division Accomplishments

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Division of Small Business staff accomplished a lot during FY 2018. As the Division transitioned to its new role, the desire and effort to support the state’s economy in a multitude of ways continued strong.


Small Business and Special Projects Units

In order to assist business owners in overcoming the regulatory hurdles that may impede them in starting or expanding a business, we are significantly strengthening connections with state and local government agencies such as the Delaware Division of Revenue and the Delaware Department of Health, Office of Food Safety.

The Division was a key player in developing Delaware’s proposal to attract Amazon’s second North American headquarters. We coordinated a broad array of partners within state and local government and private industry while working closely with the newly formed Delaware Prosperity Partnership to share the state’s story with the company and the world.

We co-organized the Unlock the Block campaign, an effort to fill vacant commercial spaces on or adjacent to Loockerman Street in downtown Dover. The program promoted multiple sites as prime locations for small businesses. It culminated in a competition where potential lessees pitched their business ideas to a panel of experts.

We led the effort to solicit and evaluate proposals for natural gas infrastructure projects to potentially receive funding from the settlement between Exelon and the state of Delaware related to Exelon’s acquisition of Delmarva Power. A group evaluated the proposals and determined which should be funded. The projects must spur economic development.

With our assistance, Illinois-based DOT Foods, the largest food industry re-distributor in North America, chose Delaware as the location for a $36 million, 186,000 square foot warehouse-distribution facility to be built in Bear. The

We helped Prime Rates, a financial technology company, find a headquarters location in Delaware. The company will be moving to the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Enterprise Center in Wilmington.

We organized and met with the Division’s advisory councils for Minority Business Owners, Women Business Owners and Military Veteran Business Owners in order to receive input about how the Division can best assist them in overcoming the specific challenges they face in starting and expanding a business.

Our Special Projects Director serves as grantee administrator for Delaware’s statewide Foreign Trade Zone. There are currently five active Foreign Trade Zone sites in Delaware. We are working to encourage more companies and municipalities to create Foreign Trade Zone sites and for more companies to occupy
the existing sites.

Through the Downtown Roadmap program, we assisted multiple municipalities in Kent and Sussex counties in creating new visions for their downtowns by adopting a comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization including recommendations on master planning, marketing and branding from national experts.

BIO 2018
We led the Delaware delegation to the 2018 conference in Boston of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the association of life science companies and researchers. We hosted the Delaware pavilion and made introductions for the numerous Delaware companies that attended the conference.

Staff participate as a member of a number of organizations, including: Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Small Business Alliance, Delaware Startup Launchpad, DelDOT Advisory Council on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Fort DuPont Redevelopment Corporation, Governor’s Supplier Diversity Council, Independent Resources Inc.’s Dolphin Tank Awards, Natural gas infrastructure grant awards advisory committee, New Castle County Emerging Enterprise Center’s Entrepreneurial Summit, State International Development Organizations


Tourism Unit (The Delaware Tourism Office)

The Delaware Tourism Office received its first-ever Adrian Award, which is considered the Oscar of the global tourism marketing industry. DTO won for the latest edition of the Official State Travel Guide. The guide features inspirational photography, immersive layouts and informational content developed directly in response to what consumers said they wanted in a travel guide. It is part of the larger Endless Discoveries brand the tourism office launched in 2015.

The Delaware Tourism Office’s direct sales and marketing efforts to attract group tours, sporting events and leisure travelers resulted in an estimated $18 million in economic impact in FY 2018. DTO also represented Delaware at more than a dozen regional and national trade shows. DTO helped attract large sports tournaments to Delaware, including the National Lacrosse Classic at DE Turf and the US Lacrosse National Championships.

DTO works to drive off-season, out-of-state visitation to the Delaware Beaches through events such as Slam Dunk to the Beach and Winter WonderFEST. DTO supports Winter WonderFEST in Lewes through sponsorship of the VisitDelaware.com ice rink. The rink hosted more than 10,000 skaters in 2017, and the event as a whole drew more than 60,000 people from 31 states and Canada. Slam Dunk saw standing room only crowds in 2017 and the highest ticket sales in tournament history.

DTO launched the mobile version of the popular Delaware Beer, Wine & Spirits Trail that meets consumers where they are – on their mobile phones. The evolution of the travel industry means meeting consumers’ demand with new technology. The app lets beer lovers check in at locations on their phone, and when they’ve been to 10 locations receive a commemorative beer mug. Delaware on Tap also provides helpful information on and links to events, tours, lodging, dining and transportation options. The app is being downloaded at a rate three times faster than the original paper passport. The tourism office has added seven new locations since the application launched in October 2017, bringing the total to 32, which is almost triple the size of the Wine and Ale Trail when it started in 2009.

In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week in May, DTO debuted a virtual reality video that takes viewers on an immersive 360-degree tour of some of Delaware’s most iconic tourist attractions. The sites include Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library; Woodland Beach; Trap Pond State Park and the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. The video, which has been viewed thousands of times on VisitDelaware.com, offers an enhanced way to share Delaware’s story with potential out-of-state visitors. Tourism office staff are using a VR headset at trade shows to give consumers the experience of exploring some of Delaware’s endless discoveries without leaving their seats.


Communications Unit

The communications team developed a new brand for the Division of Small Business, which plays off the success of the tourism office’s Endless Discoveries campaign. We created a logo, stationery, brand guide and temporary website. We also began work on an advertising campaign to increase awareness about the new Division along with launching Facebook and Twitter accounts. A blog on the Division website connects directly to social media, which is a best practice to maximize the number of people who see Division and Delaware small businesses news.

We provided marketing and public relations support for Unlock the Block, an effort to fill vacant commercial spaces in downtown Dover. Our role included engaging Dover-based Big River Film Co. to produce two promotional videos about the program and downtown Dover. We also organized walking tours for Governor Carney of small businesses in downtown Dover and downtown Rehoboth Beach. The tours enabled business owners to describe their business for the governor and for him to get a sense of Delaware’s vibrant small business community.

We led the promotional effort around Delaware’s proposal to attract Amazon’s second North American headquarters, including orchestrating the #OptionsInDE social media campaign among several state agencies, working with Short Order Production House to produce the popular “Options in Delaware” video and working with The Archer Group to design the “Options in Delaware” website. We also handled media relations and coordinated a press conference to announce the sites chosen in Delaware to pitch to Amazon.

Our outreach effort consisted of organizing numerous press events and issuing multiple press releases, including: Sallie Mae expanding its facility in Newark and adding 285 employees; TrafficCast relocating its East Coast Traffic Operations Center to Wilmington; A Thumbtack report rating Delaware A+ for small business friendliness. We also fulfilled media requests from local and national outlets, including: Bloomberg BNA, Chief Executive, Expansion Solutions and Global Trade.

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