Via, Greater Portland CVB, Planet Dog recognized for work

The Portland Development Corp. is honoring three local groups on Wednesday for their contributions to the city’s economy vitality.

The Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is being recognized for its 4th Annual Harvest on the Harbor. The event brings in more than 5,000 people to the downtown over three days, according to a release from the city, with an economic impact of more than $2 million.

The VIA Agency will receive the 2011 Business of Year Award. VIA, the release noted, has a client base including non-profits to large corporations including Samsung, Disney, and HBO.

“When looking for a new location for its Danforth Street headquarters, the agency could have moved anywhere and chose to relocate to the former historic Baxter Library building on Congress Street, bringing its seventy-five employees into an area of the Arts District bringing an influx of new energy and pedestrian activity,” the release said. “VIA is a shining example of the type of company Portland’s creative economy is trying to cultivate.”

And Planet Dog will receive the 2011 Small Business of Year Award, which will be accepted by founder and co-owner Alex Fisher.

“Fisher’s commitment to the community is exemplified by the company’s support of local initiatives and donations to a variety of causes,” the release said. “Its flagship initiative is the Planet Dog Foundation, whose philanthropic mission is to promote and celebrate programs that enable dogs to serve and support their best friends. In 2007, Planet Dog gave more than $200,000 in cash and product donations which are donated to non-profit canine service programs nationwide to support training and placing working dogs with people in need.”

This is the PDC’s 16th annual business awards event. The corporation was created by the city in 1991 “to create and foster economic development within the city.”

According to the PDC’s website, the corporation:

“… reviews and approves all requests for loans from the City’s Revolving Loan Program (RLP) and has provided more than 100 Portland businesses with over $5.5 million in financial assistance. Add in the Tax Increment Financing incentive program, and the PDC has helped to stimulate over $121 million in new investment and create or retain more than 5,300 jobs for Portland. In the loan portfolio, every one dollar of City funds invested leveraged nearly $9.50 in private capital”

The PDC event on Wednesday will run from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ocean Gateway International Marine Terminal on Commercial Street.