An economic developer’s wish list

Amy Clickner, CEO, Lake Superior Community Partnership

Since we are in the midst of the holidays, I thought it only appropriate to share my top 10 “wish list” as an economic developer with all of you. Here I have provided some actions we can all take to continue to spur growth in our economy.

10 — Support your local economic development organization. By doing so, you ensure that we have a team of professionals with the necessary resources to provide business development services to all sectors and all sizes of businesses and entrepreneurs. We are a simple phone call or email away at 906-226-6591 or lscp@marquette.org.

9 — Do you have a business product or service idea? Are you ready to expand your current product or service line or territory? Well, let’s take that to the next level. Eighty percent of job growth in a community comes from within; you could be the next exciting new business to open or expand in the county!

8 — Build something! We economic developers absolutely love when things are being built. It means an increase in investment, construction jobs and tax revenue in our community. On top of all of that, what municipality doesn’t like additional tax dollars? Such funds provide critical services, infrastructure upgrades and support our incredible recreational facilities.

7 — Volunteer! We all know that the festivals and events held in our region entertain residents but also draw in visitors. Visitors need places to stay and eat, pump gas and pick up souvenirs and necessities while they are here. These events are not possible without all the volunteers that put them on.

6 — For all the businesses out there, what percentage of your supplies and vendors are sourced locally? Is it 5%? 15%? More? Business-to-business purchasing is a great way to grow the local economy. Maybe next year you would set a goal of increasing your local purchasing by 3%?

5 — Supporting Northern Michigan University, a major employer and asset, in selling our region in economic development. Obviously, it’s a great choice for your education, but think about the many other ways you can be supportive. Need continuing education or professional development credits? What about attending some of the many athletic events and wear your green and gold? As an employer, imagine the talent available to you just around the corner.

4 — Shopping locally is something we can all do. Think of the many locally owned businesses, the people they employ and how they give back to our community. From sponsorships to volunteer hours, we count on them to help make a difference.

3 — I wouldn’t be an economic developer if I didn’t remind you to “fly from nearby!” Our best chance of additional flights and airlines is to make sure our planes are full. Sure, at times you may find a cheaper flight elsewhere, but all I ask for you is to include Sawyer International Airport’s flights as part of your decision making process. The convenience of leaving from home is an added bonus.

2 — Get your health care right in your own backyard. While I understand how personal the choice of a health care provider is, I ask that you do your research to get an understanding of the options for care you have locally. At the end of the day, you have to choose what is best for you, but make sure you get the facts about the amazing providers we have right here in Marquette County. You get the added benefit of being close to home and family while recovering.

1 — Keep being the welcoming community that we are known for. So often when we have guests in town or new residents that have moved here for work, I hear the comment on how friendly and accepting the people are. If you don’t think others notice those directions you gave, the smile you shared, looking them in the eye or the “hello” on the street … know that they do, so keep up the good work!

I realize my list is quite long, but I think it’s doable. Economic and community success is something we all have the ability to contribute to. How about we make 2020 the year we turn it up a notch and be mindful of how the decisions we make everyday can positively impact our community.

Editor’s NOTE: Amy Clickner is CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.


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