Lo­cal busi­nesses trans­form com­mu­ni­ties

Record Observer - - Opinion -

On a stroll down a Main Street teem­ing with in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques and craft brew­eries, I over­heard an ex­change be­tween a shop­keeper and a cus­tomer:

“What brought you to our town?” the cus­tomer asked.

The shop­keeper laughed and said, “The an­swer’s a long one. How much time do you have?”

En­trepreneurs and es­tab­lished com­pa­nies set up shop in com­mu­ni­ties for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. Ac­cess to skilled la­bor, af­ford­able real es­tate and work­ing cap­i­tal are just some of the rea­sons that busi­nesses hang their shin­gles here. Mary­land’s en­trepreneurial ecosys­tem is cu­rated by eco­nomic de­vel­op­ers, gov­ern­ment and busi­ness lead­ers who trans­form neigh­bor­hoods, one store­front at a time.

As a long­time eco­nomic de­vel­oper, I rely on my net­work of col­leagues at the Mar yland Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion to make the best choices for the com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses I serve. For 55 years, MEDA’s di­ver­sity of voices, con­fer­ences and learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties have pow­ered the part­ner­ships vi­tal to growth. To­gether, our mem­bers help com­pa­nies ex­port their prod­ucts to ex­pand their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the world econ­omy. We part­ner with ed­u­ca­tion and industry to de­liver real-time skills to our work­force. We bring new busi­nesses to Main Street pro­vid­ing fi­nanc­ing and mar­ket­ing sup­port. Ev­ery project we un­der­take aims to make your life easier, your neigh­bor­hood bet­ter, and your job prospects stronger.

Sept. 19-23 marks our statewide cel­e­bra­tion of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Week. This week al­lows Mar yland ju­ris­dic­tions to make procla­ma­tions reaf­firm­ing the im­por­tance of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. It also deep­ens the di­a­logue about job growth and en­rich­ment ef­forts un­der­way in our cities and towns. If you’re in­ter­ested in con­tribut­ing to your com­mu­nity’s story, I in­vite you to:

• learn more about lo­cal Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Week ac­tiv­i­ties on medamd.com

• par­tic­i­pate in a com­mu­nity or neigh­bor­hood or­ga­ni­za­tion as of­ten as pos­si­ble

• shop at small busi­nesses in your com­mu­nity.

My par­tic­i­pa­tion in MEDA is fu­eled by my com­mit­ment as a cit­i­zen. As MEDA pres­i­dent, I will en­sure that we give eco­nomic de­vel­op­ers and busi­nesses the tools to im­prove their com­mu­ni­ties. As a cit­i­zen, I’ll take time to lis­ten to the shop­keeper’s story, know­ing that his long an­swer will im­prove his long-term chances of suc­cess. KEASHA N. HAYTHE, CEcD MEDA Pres­i­dent

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