The Economic Vitality Partnership's Elizabeth French shared the City's newly created economic development strategy with the EVP member organizations last night at its quarterly meeting.  The plan presents a clearly stated list of goals and objectives and identified tasks to be followed by a yet-to-be-hired individual filling the role of a newly identified position (or two) responsible for economic development in the city.  The strategy and funding allocation were recently approved by the city council with a sizable contribution made by county Oregon Lottery funds earmarked for ED.

Review and comments were given by the group during Q&A.  Interesting questions asked were central to the proposed role of the new strategy and proposed position:

- Is the strategy Corvallis or regionally focused?  Corvallis.

- Have the responsibilities of the new ED position been prioritized?  No.  Although the primary focus will be on identifying sources for funding of ED activities.

 - Is there an educational component within the strategy to help change the currently cumbersome processes within the city and better manage it?  Not at this time, but that should be part of the responsibilities of the new ED role.

 

This advance is a big step from where we were just two short years ago, attempting to interpret and fix existing ED policy.  Now we have a strategy and commited funding to help us along - CONGRATS to everyone who helped bring us here...!

For anyone interested in how to create a regionally-based innovation economy, attached below is a worthwhile and highly educational piece out of the Bay Area and funded by the US Dept. of Labor. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice to see a lot of hard work and discussion come to something that was supported and approved by the Corvallis City Council.  Congratulations to the Economic Development Commission for their approach and big ideas as well as the small steps they will take as they drum up the resources to support and sustain the effort. As a long time economic development champion and long time worker for the Business Enterprise Center, Inc., the region's longest standing and most successful business incubator/accelerator I offer them our experience and support. I hope they are able to accept it and include our offerings in their plans. As an original charter member of the EVP and one of the 4 original goals we have come a long way.  The BEC has participated in the formation of over 32 local start up companies since 2006 and are able to boast a success rate the envy of most incubators. Now all we need is some sustaining funding to support the efforts.

As Entrepreneur In Chief at the BEC, I approached the Corvallis Economic Development Commission and attempted to sell them 9 letters for a mere $55,000 and of course they, being smart people, had to say NO! It was not unexpected. The letters were, BEC for Business Enterprise Center, PNP for Public-NonProfit-Private, and CSI for Collaborative, Supportable, Implementation.  I my offering the BEC would have an identifiable revenue stream and continued future beyond July first. Now, it is back to the drawing boards.

I support the new strategy but find it too Corvallis Centric and without the BEC and regional effort I am not optimistic in these times of scarce resources that the change they are attempting to create will be accomplished. We all must work together to help get it done.  What about an Ocean --Corvallis to Newport High Tech Support cooridor in support of Ocean Health, Observation, support to the NOAA Fleet, new OSU research vessel, the Hatfield Science Center, etc........just another idea not included in their current work. Where does the WAC, WiN and WiF fit in with their strategy...who will step up to the leadership vacuum?

Well, time marches on and progress is being made. Tom Nelson was hired in August 2012 as the Regional Economic Development Manager and is off to a solid beginning. He took over as the Corvallis Sustainable Enterprise Zone Manager on the 1st of January 2013 and is also the single point of contact for Marketing the Corvallis Municipal Airport Industrial Park. He is well known in the area and a long time economic development professional. He ia in the process of hiring an Accounts Executive to assist with business retention and recruitment. The City has granted the Business Enterprise Center, Inc. a contract that allows them an expansion path forward to work with small tech Startups as they have for over 2 decades.
they are establishing a good framework for opening the door to business growth and expansion. Keep it going folks. It will take all of us.

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