Thursday, March 22, 2012
The Johnson County Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC) Business Development Task force hosted a business retention and expansion roundtable on Monday, March 12 at the Hallar Building.
Many community leaders, business owners, politicians and civic leaders were on hand to participate in the roundtable discussions aimed at creating and retaining jobs in Johnson County and helping the county grow in all areas. JCEDC’s Business Development Task Force is responsible for the retention and expansion of primary employers in Johnson County through an effective Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program. While there are many parts to a BRE program, the central elements are understanding employers, understanding Johnson County’s business climate, identifying the needs of business and forming relationships.
“This is the second in a series of roundtables that the Business Development Task Force is hosting around Johnson County. These open forums provide a great opportunity for the business and community leaders to come together to discuss issues and find mutual solutions to potential barriers,” said Richard Lloyd, co-chairman.
Most of a community’s job growth and capital investment comes from businesses already located there. Based on Blane, Canada Ltd.’s research, an urban/suburban community will average 76 percent of their growth from existing employers. A rural community is even more dependent on internal growth. Given this, business retention and expansion programs are one of the three core economic development strategies: business attraction, business retention and expansion, and community development.
Tracy Brantner of Johnson County Economic Development Corporation opened the roundtable meeting, explaining the goals for the evening. She then introduced Georgia Stuart-Simmons of the Johnson County Extension Office who would act as facilitator during the evening.
Approximately 50 people were divided into four tables and were given the task of brainstorming and coming up with ideas in different areas that would be beneficial o Johnson County. Participants were asked to choose their top five things in each of the following categories as they pertain to Johnson County: strengths; weaknesses; opportunities; and threats. Then each table reported back to the larger group, sharing their ideas and comparing notes. Not surprisingly there were many similarities among the tables.
Brantner will take the information gathered and compile it into a report and send it out to everyone in attendance and then they could figure out how to proceed from there. She thanked everyone for coming out and participating. “We’ve made a lot of good progress and you have come up with a lot of great ideas,” she said. “I can’t wait to get busy putting these into action.”