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July 25, 2013
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Vail Daily column: Vail Valley Business Forum returns Tuesday

According to Wikipedia, economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area.

As defined by the American Planning Association, economic development is the process of improving a community’s well-being through job creation, business growth and income growth (factors that are the typical and reasonable focus of economic development policy), as well as through improvements to the wider social and natural environment that strengthen the economy.

“Economic development” is a term that has various meanings to stakeholders throughout the community; for example, those dependent on tourism might have a different definition than those who run business-to-business service operations.

Interested in learning more about economic development at a state and local level? We welcome you to join Vail Valley Partnership and the Economic Council of Eagle County at our annual Vail Valley Business Forum. The forum, sponsored by Vail Board of Realtors, will take place Tuesday, where attendees will learn what economic development efforts are taking place at the state level, as well as the individual municipal level within the Vail Valley.

Our keynote speaker is Ken Lund, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. In this capacity, Lund oversees the state’s initiatives and programs in the areas of business recruitment and retention, small business advocacy and assistance and business finance/business lending efforts in addition to supporting the state’s tourism marketing and outreach initiatives through the Colorado Tourism Office.

These roles are essential in the ongoing outreach and coordination of economic initiatives across the state, ensuring that the state’s goals for economic prosperity and sustainability are achieved in an intelligent and synchronized fashion, founded on the principals of broad consensus and collaboration across the various communities in Colorado.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade works with statewide partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. Their mission is to advance the state’s economy through financial and technical assistance in support of local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado.

OEDIT offers a host of programs and services tailored to support business development at every level including business retention and relocation services, business finance and incentive programs, the Colorado Tourism Office, creative industries, Colorado International Trade Office, Colorado Small Business Development Centers, film, TV and media, minority and women-owned business services and economic research.

Lund will share with the audience an update on the Colorado Blueprint, a bottom-up approach to economic development. The priority of the Colorado Blueprint is the creation and retention of jobs and expansion of companies across the state.

The Colorado Blueprint identifies six core objectives, based on input from the bottom-up process:

• Build a business-friendly environment.

• Retain, grow and recruit companies.

• Increase access to capital.

• Create and market a stronger Colorado brand.

• Education and train the workforce of the future.

• Cultivate innovation and technology.

It’s an ambitious plan. Perhaps you’re asking, what do these various efforts have to do with us here in the Vail Valley?

Our business forum panel consisting of town managers will follow Lund’s keynote presentation; the group consisting of Stan Zemler (Vail), Jim White (Minturn), Scott Burgess (Red Cliff), Virginia Eggers (Avon), Jon Stavney (Eagle) and Jeff Schroll (Gypsum) will share their feedback on the state’s efforts and how we can capitalize on these efforts at a local level.

Our panel will share municipal updates and economic development success stories from their towns, as well as their feedback and vision for what they hope to see within the Vail Valley and Eagle County in the future.

Both Lund and our town manager panel will answer questions from the audience as part of the Vail Valley Business Forum. We encourage attendees to ask questions of our panel to help answer the question of what economic development means to us and how we, collectively from the state level down to the municipal level, can impact our economic development efforts moving forward.

Please join us on Tuesday at the Four Seasons Resort Vail from 8 to 11 a.m. Tickets are $30 in advance for members and $40 for non-members and at the door. RSVP to Jennifer Weintraub at 970-477-4001 or via email at

Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

Our panel will share municipal updates and economic development success stories from their towns, as well as their feedback and vision for what they hope to see within the Vail Valley and Eagle County in the future.

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The VailDaily Updated Jul 25, 2013 09:01PM Published Jul 25, 2013 02:15PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.