Merger sharpens development focus

By Matthew Harrison, Executive Director

Grenada County Economic Development District

The Greater Grenada Foundation for Economic Development is excited about the future possibilities that this consolidation represents.  The GGFED and the chamber’s mission have always been to impact our community through job growth and sustainability. We now have the opportunity to utilize our resources and leadership to develop a singularly focused organization that is committed to Grenada’s community economic development.

Organizations like Hattiesburg’s Area Development Partnership, Rankin First, Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, Community Development Foundation of Tupelo, the Alliance in Corinth, and others have successfully used this model to create a “one-stop shop” for all development.

In the world of economic development, competition is at an all-time high. Communities are rigorously (and daily) competing for retail, small business, restaurants, entrepreneurs, manufacturing and industrial opportunities. With this increase in competition, communities that look for ways to develop a competitive advantage position themselves for greater results. That’s why this consolidation is important. It gives Grenada an advantage in developing a strategic plan for new growth.

There are significant research and evidence that show consolidations of this type ultimately create positive growth in a community, and it’s region. Ultimately, it allows for the effective use of funding, communication, and planning. Economic development has traditionally followed the “one-legged” approach to development that has targeted industrial recruitment, business expansion, and business retention. But changes in the marketplace are forcing EDO’s to develop a wider approach. The new approach has added two new legs that are designed to focus on small business development, talent development, recruitment, community livability, urban planning, and quality of life attributes.

And that’s exactly what this consolidation will allow us to do. We will be able to support our local business, mom and pops, our industrial partners, education, quality of place and still provide new industrial recruitment. It’s a balance in creating an economically sustainable community.

We all realize the vast amount of leadership, expertise, and resources that are in Grenada. We can now focus on working in a collaborative effort with our partners, stakeholders, and membership in developing the best strategic plan, that will impact not only our recruitment efforts but also positively impact all of Grenada.