Whatcom County, WA 
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 

About the CEDS

What is a CEDS? 

CEDS stands for Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. It is a long-term planning document that is intended to guide economic development throughout a region.

What are the benefits of having a CEDS?

The CEDS is a requirement to be eligible to compete for EDA and other federal funding opportunities. It is also a requirement to be eligible for many Washington State funding opportunities. The CEDS also provides a long-term vision and plan for economic development in the region, making development more programmatic and efficient.

The 2022-2026 report update was led by the Port’s economic development staff, overseen by the CEDS External Review Committee, and informed by broad stakeholder engagement within the community throughout the entire process. 

Click the menu to the right to browse our 2022-2026 CEDS SWOT analyses, Goals and Objectives, or data on related topics in Whatcom County. The link to the full-length, County Council approved report can be found here.

About the Port of Bellingham

The Port is a county-wide municipal corporation with a mission to promote sustainable economic development, optimize transportation gateways, and manage publicly owned land and facilities to benefit Whatcom County.  Throughout Whatcom County, the Port owns, operates and maintains approximately 1600 acres of property including a shipping terminal, a cruise terminal, two marinas, industrial development areas, commercial uplands, parklands, shoreline public access areas and an international airport.  For more information about the Port of Bellingham, please visit www.portofbellingham.com.

About the Regional Economic Partnership at the Port of Bellingham 

The Regional Economic Partnership (REP), which is the economic development division of the Port of Bellingham (POB), is a hub for economic development and growth for all of Whatcom County. REP strives for a sustainable, resilient regional economy through a balanced and collaborative programmatic approach. REP works with the private, public, and nonprofit sectors and connects businesses to economic development and workforce resources. For more information about the Regional Economic Partnership, please visit www.portofbellingham.com/154/Economic-Development.

About Whatcom County

Whatcom County is an ideal place for businesses to grow and partnerships to flourish all while maintaining a high quality of living. Whatcom County is located between Seattle and Vancouver with access to eight million residents within a 100-mile radius. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the wealth of outdoor recreational activities available to serious athletes, casual naturists, and adventurous beginners at our national, state, and city parks.

As a partner with British Columbia in the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, our economy is diverse. We have a strong agricultural sector with over 100,000 acres of fertile farmland and are best known for our superb berry and dairy products. A humming manufacturing sector produces everything from doors to shoe insoles to organic body lotions and balms. There is also a burgeoning composites sector, strong marine trades, and a growing food processing sector. Our tax environment is also supportive of business, as Washington State has no personal or corporate income tax, regardless of company size or profitability. 

Our higher education institutions, including Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College, Western Washington University, and Whatcom Community College are home to over 30,000 students with nationally-ranked degree and certificate programs, including one of the best cyber security programs in the United States. Ranked 22nd by Forbes’ as one of the best places for small businesses and careers, Whatcom County has over 18,000 enterprises. Cherry Point Industrial Park, which is one of the largest industrially zoned properties in Washington along I-5, is currently home to multinational corporations and is a site for future international business and trade. For more information about Whatcom County, please visit www.whatcomcounty.us.