Don't forget to shop locally this holiday season and remember Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24), which is a day set aside to support the small businesses that play a vital role in creating jobs and economic opportunities throughout our country. Small businesses are the back bone of our communities. And when we shop small, we not only get great products and services, but we support our neighbors and strengthen our local economies. DiAnn Butler, Grand County's Economic Development Coordinator is asking that we each make a pledge to shop locally not only this Saturday, but throughout the year.Grand County Economic Development is launching many economic development initiatives for 2013. On November 13, the Commissioners approved $59,000 for specific economic development projects. The goal is to retain existing businesses and attract new ones, said Grand County Economic Development Coordinator DiAnn Butler, who meets monthly with a 12-member advisory board. Starting in January, a new website will jumpstart a countywide economic program : The "I am Grand" website, still in development, will include county demographics, a newsletter, calendar of events, and a list resources and tools available for businesses interested in relocating here. It will provide resources and useful information for current businesses. It's also a branding program, Butler explained, showcasing what makes Grand County people special with testimonial-style videos of local business owners. Also in the works is a countywide Downtown Colorado Inc. assessment. Through surveys and focus groups, Downtown Colorado determines what incentives and policies will best encourage the type of growth the communities hope to foster. Granby and Fraser have already completed downtown assessments, which were very helpful, Butler said. "The goal is to expand on information we already have and determine how to move forward." Money also has been earmarked for business training and seminars. The first networking session -- focusing on providing a higher-level of service during a recession through collaboration with other businesses -- will be offered in cooperation with the Colorado Workforce on Thursday, December 6th from 2 to 4 pm @ the Granby Town Hall. Butler is working with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments on broadband Internet access issues and the Stronger Economics Together (SET) initiative. Butler also continues to research ways to better position Grand County and sources of grant money. One idea she is researching is a Colorado Creative District grant through the state's Office of Economic Development. These are grants to encourage municipalities to form creative districts to attract entrepreneurs and artists and build economic activity. "We are working in conjunction with the advisory committee, which has its finger on the pulse of the local business community," Butler said. "As we move through this process, the committee will help decide which projects take priority." Economic Development meetings are held every 2nd Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Grand County Road & Bridge building in Granby. If you would like more information, please contact DiAnn Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 725-3347.