- By: Anna Borgeas – Vice President and COO of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce
We are finally coming out of the Great Recession (Collective sigh of relief.) But, if we know anything about our region, we tend to lag behind in recoveries, which means we need to dig deeper to find better ways to elevate our economic activity.
Enter the Global Cities Initiative. Launched in March of 2012, the GCI is a five-year joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping metropolitan areas strengthen their regional economies by becoming more competitive in the global marketplace.
So, why should we focus on exports? Because exports accounted for about half of the nation’s economic growth in the first year of the post-recession recovery. And where there is economic activity – there are jobs. Based on one study, every $1 billion in new exports creates 5,400 additional jobs.
The Fresno Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Fresno, Fresno State, the Central California Economic Development Corporations, San Joaquin Valley Regional Association of CA Counties and the US Department of Commerce is proud to have helped lead the charge to get accepted into this prestigious program whose ultimate goal is it increase jobs and expand businesses in the region.
Last month, we joined other cities like Baltimore, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Seattle in Indianapolis to learn about the process that has been developed by the Brookings Institution. Perhaps the most important part of this program is the peer learning that happens. Hearing the successes of metro areas like Portland, Kansas City and Milwaukee, really created the excitement that is necessary to develop our community’s designated strategy for export growth.
How does that happen? Through collaboration with not only our local government leaders and economic development organizations, but through spending time with our regional small and medium sized businesses who want to export but can’t and those larger businesses that export a little but want to do more. Over the next few months, we will be reaching out to businesses throughout the valley to better understand what barriers to exporting exist and how can we eliminate them. So as we come knocking on your door, we hope you will be willing to help unravel the export conversation that is so vital to the development of a meaningful plan that will ultimately increase economic activity for our region.
We need to be smart. We are looking to change the system of support. But we will need your help.