Vail Valley Partnership: Economic development similar to mountain grooming
A well-recognized community challenge in resort communities such as the Vail Valley is the desire to diversify the economy; in other words, to reduce our reliance on tourism by strengthening other industry sectors. Let’s be clear — tourism is a net benefit to our economy, but it also creates inherent challenges.
A key to this effort is to focus on and build strong partnerships that create lasting value in our communities. The development and coordination of programs that address key community needs enhance the economic vitality of the individual communities within the valley and as a result, efforts are an intentional process that doesn’t happen overnight. These efforts include a variety of economic development programming; economic development is like grooming the mountain. It’s not something you do once. Rather, it’s something you need to commit doing over and over again.
There is a hefty catalog of resources available to business owners and entrepreneurs looking to set up camp in the Vail Valley. This includes leading efforts to implement the various action plan items outlined and detailed in the Eagle County Economic Development Plan. Chief among the goals of the plan is to help build a business-friendly Eagle County.
Businesses need reliable community information, and this is accessible through our dedicated economic development-focused website. Success stories are available to further spotlight various entrepreneurs throughout the valley to better market our community to prospective business owners and entrepreneurs. The website provides a one-stop shop for local innovators and entrepreneurs designed to help business owners, and prospective businesses, navigate the various regional and statewide resources available. This eliminates friction, and helps provide a welcome mat for entrepreneurs looking to establish and grow their business in Eagle County. The MyPartner Career Network is an example of a tool for local businesses to assist with employee retention and new employee community integration.
Regional collaboration is important to our business community, and it is paramount to be engaged in regular actions designed to bring together elected officials and private industry representatives from all areas in the Eagle River Valley. Efforts include the Workforce Housing Coalition, the Economic Development Leadership Council, and the CareerWise Colorado youth apprenticeship program. Additionally, our community business interests are represented thorough active engagement with groups including the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments economic development district and the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium. This engagement ensures local economic development efforts and programming does not operate in a vacuum, and helps create a positive climate for business by reducing duplication of services.
Research activities include regular tracking of a set of standard economic, demographic, labor force and real estate indicators. An annual Workforce Survey is conducted with local business to produce the Annual Workforce Report. This data center provides tools to local businesses, prospective businesses, local governments and special districts. The data center and localized research tools available to business, ranging from demographics to wage reports, workforce studies to economic indicators, labor force to lodging occupancies or consumer spending, are vital business tools — businesses need and want to know about our business environment prior to making decisions on expansion or relocation to Eagle County.
Vail Valley Partnership remains committed to collaborating for the success of our community and to continue the positive momentum that strengthens our business community, resulting in sustainable businesses, less community and workforce turnover, and a stronger local economy. These tools are available to all businesses, and help create data informed business plans and thus a stronger business community.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.