Economic Development Comes Largely From Within

I’m going to throw out a phrase to you that is sure to get you excited. Wait for it. Here it is: “economic development.” Wow, that phrase is better than caffeine at getting you pumped up, don’t you think? OK, maybe not. But maybe I can encourage you to keep reading so that I can at least share some of my enthusiasm.

It seems when talking about economic development, it is most often thought of as synonymous with new businesses startups. A new business relocates to town or an entrepreneur starts up a new small business and that equates to economic development. That is true, but it’s not the whole truth.

Economic Development is much bigger than just new businesses starting. In fact, at the Chamber of Commerce we use a chart that shows economic development as seven different categories all feeding into the health of a community’s economic prosperity, including: Leadership and Civic Development, Infrastructure Development, Workforce Development, Quality of Life, Entrepreneur Development, Existing Business Development, and New Business Recruitment.

Because the Chamber wants to take a holistic approach to a healthy economy, we try and take a role in each of those categories.  However, there are two categories that we find quite important: Workforce Development and Existing Business Development.  Why are those two extra important to us?

First, our membership is over 650 existing businesses and we are here to serve our members and their employees. 

Second, numbers don’t lie.  On average, around 80 percent of a community’s business and job growth comes from within.  That means the great local businesses already established are Sheridan County’s greatest potential for job and economic growth!  Now can you see why I’m enthusiastic for economic development?  We’ve got everything we need right here.

One of the ways we like to encourage that growth is through trainings like our Ignite Your Business Conference coming up on Tuesday, October 18 at Sheridan College.  This full-day professional development conference offers an opportunity for local business owners and employees to grow their skills and spark their passion to foster a healthy business environment.  Sixteen different sessions are offered in categories like Communications, Technology, Human Resources, and Business Growth.  Plus, this year we have a great keynote speaker, Russ Cherry, who has trained for some of the world’s largest companies like ExxonMobile.

Interested in economic development and a healthy business community?  Well, according to statistics, it starts with you: Sheridan County’s workforce and business owners.  Sign up today for the Ignite Your Business Conference and take part in growing a healthy business community!  Call the Chamber at 672-2485 to register.

By Ryan Koltiska, Director of Marketing and Communications, Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce.

[This article originally appeared as a “Community Perspectives” column in The Sheridan Press, October 8, 2016.]

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