Economic Development News

Focusing on GROWTH
A brief overview of the "Growth" Focus Area in the Chamber's strategic plan
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Growth ensures long-term vitality and resilience.  Entrepreneurship can be nurtured through an ecosystem of resources that support the commercialization of new ideas. Business Growth is a primary focus of the Chamber and encompasses existing business and business attraction.

Of the four FOCUS areas in the Chamber’s strategic plan, GROWTH is primarily considered pure economic development, the goal being to stimulate business growth through innovation, development, training and attraction.

Historically, most local and regional economic development strategies focused on business recruitment, synonymous in many people’s minds with “industrial recruitment” and programs to support small business and entrepreneurial growth was a separate strategy.  However, the combination of the two approaches is now considered to be the best overall strategy for business growth, and the Chamber’s most recent strategic plan implements business attraction and existing business strategies in support of one another – all the under the umbrella of the GROWTH Focus Area.

The leader of the GROWTH Focus Area is the Board of Directors Chairman-Elect.  Gregg Bexten, Hawthorn Bank, served as the Focus Leader in 2014. 

The following is a brief overview of the various programs and committees included in the GROWTH Focus Area.

BEST- This steering group consists of small business owners, academic and business professionals providing overall guidance for all the small business educational outreach programs and business resource assistance efforts.  The BEST Team has met on a regular basis throughout the year providing guidance for the following outreach programs – StartUp Jefferson City, Small Business Academy and the Tuesday Topic Series.

StartUp JC-This group consists of small business owners, academic and business professionals focused on identifying and educating entrepreneurs on the facets of starting a small business.  StartUp Jefferson City has offered three separate outreach events this year:  Encouraging Entrepreneurship (April), Practice Pitch Event (August) and Pitch It & Win It (October).

Small Business Academy-This program offers small business owners a 10 week course with 3-hour sessions that include coaching, discussion, group activities, and peer-to-peer learning. The small business academy uses the curriculum developed by the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City.  The 2014 Small Business Academy began its 10 week session on September 10th with five participating businesses. 

SCORE-This volunteer group consists of current and former business professionals who offer their expertise and counseling to business start-ups and existing business.  Local SCORE Chapter members meet one-on-one with individuals to provide guidance and mentoring at no cost.  To date, the Jefferson City Chamber has received 18 requests for counseling, which were vetted and passed to the local SCORE Chapter. 

Small Business Lunch  - Changed from a breakfast to a luncheon format this year, the event is held in conjunction with the Business Showcase.  Five finalists were selected from the 69 businesses nominated this year (up from 62 in 2013).  The finalists were honored at the luncheon.  Oscar’s Classic Diner was the recipient of this year’s award.

Small Business Seminars – “Tuesday Topics” -This outreach program offers chamber members and non-members ongoing educational seminars focused on current issues affecting the business community.  The Small Business Program offers six seminars throughout the year. 

President’s Roundtable-This group consists of the plant managers, general manager and owners of the county’s major manufacturers and distributers.  The group meets every four months to share company updates and discuss issues and/or concerns affecting the overall business.  The President’s Roundtable Committee has met at Scholastic and Alpla, Inc. of Jefferson City in 2014, and is scheduled to meet at Porite in December. 

Incentive Task Force-This group consists of county, city and school representatives to determine offering incentives to new or expanding businesses.  This group meets on an as needed basis.

ED Executive Team-This group consists of Chair, Chair Elect and Chair Emeritus, Presiding Commissioner and Mayor. Staff presents monthly reports.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything the Chamber does to promote economic growth.  It simply highlights the various programs and committee included in the GROWTH Focus Area.  You are encouraged to read the articles by our Economic Development staff each month, providing in-depth looks at existing business retention, business attraction, and community development efforts.

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