Vail Daily column: The importance of being business friendly
July 16, 2015
The first objective in the Eagle County Economic Development Plan is to "build a business-friendly Eagle County." The goal, as developed with insight and feedback from a variety of stakeholder groups and both public and private partners, is to make Eagle County an attractive place to conduct business by creating solid lines of communication to and between local governments and a network of easily navigable support resources.
Frankly, we already do a pretty good job of this in Eagle County. Our special districts and local governments are typically responsive to the needs of the business community; these same entities recognize the need to create a service-driven culture in order to help provide a foundation for businesses to succeed and grow. Many of our communities have economic development workgroups that focus on improving communication between the business community and the local governments, and many are invested in creating a vibrant economy by bringing events and visitors to their communities.
Being business friendly, though, is a pretty subjective subject. It is hard to measure how business friendly our community might be as there are no universal and objective measurements available. If you look at what businesses are really asking for — a trained workforce, transportation and communications (broadband) infrastructure, workforce housing — you'll see that while we are hitting the mark on a number of business friendly attributes, we still face challenges.
Vail Valley Partnership is actively working with our local, regional and statewide partners to foster stronger partnerships and develop forums to discuss issues important to the business community. This includes housing, health insurance costs, business retention and expansion and customer service.
We've developed robust data and analysis tools to inform local decision-making with regard to the economy. This includes monthly economic indicators, "business health" score/index, "economic stress" score, and annual workforce studies. Robust data and research is necessary for both public and private partners to succeed and to be business friendly.
We've also built a singular online home (www.VailValley MeansBusiness.com) welcoming prospective businesses to Eagle County and providing easily navigable support resources for existing businesses. This one-stop shop allows access to data and research, provides links to various resource partners, and has local success stories of those who have succeeded in building businesses in the Vail Valley.
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Vail Valley Business Forum
We are also hosting the annual Vail Valley Business Forum on Thursday. The theme for 2015 is, "Vail Valley Means Business: Building a business-friendly Eagle County." We invite you to join us at the Singletree Community Center to explore this important topic and hear from a variety of guest speakers from private and public entities around the region.
Importance of community public/private partnerships: Harry Frampton from East West Partners will share a variety of case studies including Village Center, Beaver Creek; Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, Avon; and Union Station Development, Denver.
Importance of regional partnerships: Frank Gray from Castle Rock Economic Development will share thoughts on "Winning Economic Development: Why Attitude and YUMUTSU (Your Understanding, My Understanding, The Same Understanding) matter."
The role of county government: Commissioner Jill Ryan from Eagle County will share thoughts on Eagle County's efforts in creating a business friendly environment.
The role of municipal government: George Ruther from town of Vail will share a review of the town of Vail's efforts in creating a business friendly environment.
The fact remains that we all benefit when businesses succeed. We are in it together as business success is tied directly to quality jobs, and quality jobs include strong benefits and result in less need for social services from town and county governments. Quality of life starts with a good job.
Creating and maintaining a business friendly environment is a necessary step in order to have a robust, successful business sector; a successful business sector is necessary to have a successful community.
We invite you to join us at the Vail Valley Business Forum on Thursday to hear from Harry, Frank, Jill and George as they outline the need for public/private partnerships, regional collaboration and the role of government in creating a business-friendly valley. RSVP to Haley McNeill at 970-477-4027 or via email at email@example.com
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.
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