Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce put focus on economic development

Economic development was a new area of focus for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) in 2015, GPCC President and CEO Todd Sanders said.

In April, the GPCC announced the official launch of Phoenix Forward, a collaborative and strategic approach to economic development, Sanders recently told Arizona Business Daily.

“Phoenix Forward fosters a pro-business environment that focuses on job creation, business retention and expansion efforts,” he said.

Sanders said that in addition to business retention and expansion efforts, Phoenix Forward gathers and analyzes industry intelligence, promotes the region and tackles policy and regulatory challenges that face the city’s four targeted industry sectors: transportation and logistics, advanced business and financial services, bioscience and health care.

Additionally, in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, the city of Phoenix and Maricopa County, the GPCC’s “innovative program connects with and supports local businesses in targeted industry sectors that are poised for growth,” Sanders told Arizona Business Daily.

Specifically, this is accomplished by identifying opportunities and working collaboratively to meet the needs of existing Arizona companies and industries, he said.

“Collaboration among leaders, economic development organizations, cities, towns, academic institutions and the business community is essential for building a sustainable statewide economy,” Sanders said.

“This initiative removes barriers to success and enables existing businesses to continue to grow, expand and create new jobs,” he said.

At the same time, Phoenix Forward also helps connect businesses to vital resources, which is critical to small businesses. For example, the initiative helps small businesses navigate regulatory issues, provides insight on the framework on the city and state and provides access to business-friendly tax incentives, Sanders said.

“In 2015, the Phoenix Forward economic development initiative focused on building leadership councils and developing strategies for each of the key industry sectors,” Sanders said. “The agenda for Phoenix Forward in 2016 will focus on the implementation and execution of the developed strategies.”

In fact, a common focus for all of the leadership councils “is workforce development in that all of the key industries are challenged by a qualified talent pool,” Sanders said.

“The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s role in facilitating workforce development is to connect talent with workforce development programs and educational institutions,” Sanders said.

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