Mitch Zundel reports:
The 2nd Annual Box Elder Economic Development Summit was a success thanks to all those who helped put it together as well as all those who participated! We had many events from a panel of elected officials (a representative from Representative Rob Bishop’s office and one from Senator Mike Lee’s office, and two Box Elder County Commissioners as well as a presentation from Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and Senator Orrin Hatch) to four workshops (Finance, Business Plans, Leadership Development, and Basic Web Marketing) and finishing it off with a keynote speaker (Dr. Richard Gardner) who spoke on “Economic Gardening.”
A few of the things that really came out of the summit for ELP were:
1. Success Story: Heather Warr – ww.StandupRanchers.com. Selling children’s and women’s clothing on e-bay. Began working with IFA stores. Expanded into footwear and is now moving into tack. This year she passed $1 million in revenue. Choose something you love – something you would do even if no one paid you to do it. This will keep you going with the drive you need to overcome every obstacle you face. She currently employs 5 ranching Moms. She opened up a store called Western Wear in Garfield County. Another note is that she lives in Grouse Creek (Box Elder County)…in the middle of nowhere!
2. Lt. Governor Greg Bell. Utah has emerged from an economy based on historical industries to a more diversified economy. Utah has experienced population growth, which has put a great strain on Utah’s budget. We need to find a way to raise revenues and improve the economy. We know that small business is where the action is and we want to grow the business from within. We do like the big companies, like Proctor and Gamble. We don’t give them a check, but we give them tax incentives that will help them based on their performance. Education is a problem for the state. Education levels peaked with the baby boomers and the level of education is now decreasing. While this is a challenging time for Utah’s economy, there are also great opportunities. While we have to figure some things out, Utah is in a sweet spot.
3. Dr. Richard Gardner. Let’s reverse the economic development pyramid! Business recruitment is the icing on the cake. Identify businesses that have the potential to grow. Pay attention to existing businesses. Nice places attract visitors, retirees and Lone Eagles. Innovative private, civic and social…Entrepreneurs.
Building economic development through local entrepreneurs is more effective than recruiting new businesses – the $ cost / job created is much higher for business relocation. They account for only 1% of new jobs. Most jobs come from entrepreneurs and small local businesses. There has been a sharp rise in necessity entrepreneurs. They’ve been cast off by the economy and they decide that their best option is to start the business that they have always wanted.
Along with all of these key points, there was a level of excitement in the air and some FANTASTIC networking took place! Thanks again, ELP Members, for your support at the summit!