BURLINGTON - CEDO and the Micro-Business Alliance will hold an Economic Summit in the Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall Feb. 13 from 8:30-11 a.m. "Building A Vision for Our Community's Economic Future" will be the theme of this collaborative session.
The City of Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) and the Micro Business Alliance have hosted three meetings since early December 2008, with focused discussions on commercial lending, economic development and workforce training. With the success and collaborative spirit of these recent gatherings, CEDO seeks to broaden the scope, soliciting the community's input on what can be accomplished in five years if the City, citizens, business owners and local organizations work together. This Summit is part of concerted effort by CEDO and the Alliance to be proactive in responding to the economic crisis.
"We need to be there for the entrepreneurs," said Bruce Seifer, CEDO's Assistant Director for Economic Development. "Many of our local companies have thus far weathered this situation quite well. But for a business to grow, or to get started, entrepreneurs need access to capital, need well-trained employees, and need physical space. We've helped many innovative and resilient businesses start or expand during past downturns, and we aim to do an even better job this time out."
The Summit is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in shaping the economic future of Burlington is encouraged to attend, particularly small business owners. The event will open with a welcome and remarks from Mayor Bob Kiss, followed by a summary of results and viable ideas generated in the earlier discussions. "As we respond to current economic challenges, it's important to include as many people as possible in the process," said Mayor Kiss. "Burlington's economic vitality depends on an engaged citizenry, an active and involved for-profit and non-profit business community, as well as other stakeholders. I encourage anyone interested to attend this business summit as we begin to chart Burlington's economic future."
As with the previous gatherings, staff members of the Vermont Congressional delegation will update the group on the status of the Economic Stimulus Package and how that inflow of Federal dollars might benefit local businesses and service providers.
The majority of the Summit will be focused on honing the vision, with a brainstorming session facilitated by consultant Robbie Harold of Harold & Associates. Known for creating high-energy, highly focused and collaborative work sessions, Harold has assisted a wide range of Vermont nonprofits with strategic planning and recently worked with the Vermont Entrepreneurship Collaborative on setting priorities for statewide small business development.
The starting point for the discussion will be the eleven goals that CEDO has laid out in the recently published How Burlington Became An Award Winning City:
1. The quality of life in Burlington is enhanced by a strong, diverse and vital downtown
2. Burlington's waterfront is developed as a cultural, recreational, social and economic resource for the entire community through the implementation of the Urban Renewal Plan for the Waterfront Revitalization District
3. Businesses that offer essential goods and services are located within the City, readily available to all residents
4. The startup and expansion of businesses are nurtured, including the support of a readily accessible core of centrally located business services
5. Burlington's 200+ acre agricultural breadbasket - home to market farming, community supported agriculture, community gardens, farmer training, and composting - thrives
6. Burlington continues to generate a strong, diverse base of locally-owned enterprises
7. Sites with real or perceived contamination issues are redeveloped into productive use
8. Quality employment supports and opportunities are available for those who are traditionally underserved, and worker are earning a livable wage
9. Transportation needs are addressed, traffic congestion reduced, access in and around downtown improved, and greater use of alternate modes of transportation promoted
10. Burlington's competitive advantages are maximized by supporting the development of targeted industries, including tourism; telecommunications intensive businesses/ the environmental technology industry; financial services; specialty foods; media, printing and publishing; the arts; and sustainable natural resource promotion
11. New cooperative relationships are developed between the City and other communities in the region to strengthen the regional economy for the benefit of all
Pre-registration strongly recommended. If you have any questions about the Economic Summit, or would like to pre-register, please contact Jon Adams-Kollitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-7187.