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17
AUG
2017

Shelby Chamber unveils new economic development campaign

by 

August 15, 2017

The Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce introduced its new economic development campaign on Tuesday morning during a kick-off breakfast held at Inverness Country Club.

Titled ShelbyOne – Next Level Up!, the five-year plan builds on the original ShelbyOne initiative that was launched in 2013 and runs through the end of this year.

The initial ShelbyOne initiative has focused on expanding programs related to business support and development, community development, healthcare, government relations and marketing and communications. Many of the goals in the plan had been met as of December 2016.

The new plan will take effect at the start of 2018, and its implementation will be spearheaded by campaign co-chairs Mike Thompson and Alex Dudchock. Thompson is the president of Thompson Tractor Company, Fairway Investments and Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club. Dudchock is county manager for Shelby County.

“We don’t focus on yesterday. We focus on tomorrow,” said Dudchock, addressing a clubhouse filled with local business people, government employees and community stakeholders. “It became readily evident that we needed to have a diversification of our economic development missions because our municipalities, our unincorporated areas — we’re 808 square miles — needed assistance not only in what we were doing industrial wise, but commercial and retail.”

ShelbyOne – Next Level Up! will target retail, commercial and industrial businesses as it aims to achieve four overarching goals. The first is to grow existing businesses and create more jobs. Specifically, the chamber hopes to add a total of 1,400 new jobs to the county’s existing business over the next five years.

The second goal is to recruit “new to market” retail, commercial and industrial businesses across the county. To accomplish this, the chamber will operate as a full public-private growth partner with 58 Inc., a newly formed economic development organization intended to recruit businesses.

“We have to have targeted strategies because of our infrastructure and our topography and our talent pool,” Dudchock said.

The third goal is to establish business-driven workforce readiness through a collective partnership among businesses, communities, schools and training providers. Its aim is to enable local companies to recruit and retain the staff they need.

The final goal concerns business advocacy and the creation of a pro-business climate countywide. Through the initiative, the chamber seeks to become the leading voice for the county’s business community at all levels of government.

“We’ve accomplished quite a bit over the past five years, but this new and expanded program of work takes our Chamber to the next level,” Chamber President and CEO Kirk Mancer said in a press release. “With the exceptionally strong leadership, from both the private and the public sector signing on to lend their endorsement of these initiatives, we’re excited about the direction we’re headed.”

The chamber has set a goal of raising $1.75 million to achieve the five-year goals, which breaks down to an annual budget of $350,000. Mancer announced Tuesday that $992,500 had been invested thus far.

He also explained how the funds will be divided to achieve each specific goal. Thirty-five percent will go toward growing existing businesses, 30 percent will go toward establishing business-driven workforce readiness, 20 percent will go toward recruiting “new to market” companies and 15 percent will go toward increasing business advocacy.

During his speech, Dudchock called Shelby County a regional economic player. Along with Thompson, Mancer and the rest of the chamber, he said he is hoping this plan will continue to elevate the county’s status.

“The economic growth opportunities in Shelby County are tremendous,” Thompson said. “When you combine these opportunities with the resources and conveniences that are available here, along with the warmth and charm of our communities and our citizens, Shelby County truly is a unique place to operate a business.”

Link to original article: http://280living.com/news/shelby-county-one-next-level-up-8-15-17/