This week, the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance officially launched Developflintandgenesee.org, a dedicated website for marketing our community to companies – locally, nationally and internationally – as an ideal place in which to invest and grow their operations.
The key words are marketing and invest, and the website is the newest tool of the Economic Alliance to connect the two for benefit of Genesee County and its residents. It is designed to alter the narrative about our community and does so in a compelling, interactive and beautiful way.
Economic Alliance, a division of Flint & Genesee Group, markets the county’s locations, buildings, sites, talent and other assets to companies looking to expand. Its goal is to spur jobs and investment for a more vibrant and healthy local economy.
Sometimes those businesses are locally based and need more room to capitalize on new opportunities and contracts. The task here is to help retain any future investment by more established, “economic base” businesses, that employ local residents, but sell their product or service outside of the area. This is done by helping those businesses navigate various processes, such as zoning, international trade, incentives or locating talent – a top challenge that nearly all businesses are facing.
Other times, the growth opportunities lie with businesses and decision-makers (sometimes with the aid of real estate agents or site selectors) who aren’t located here. For those companies and their representatives, a more comprehensive introduction is often required, particularly to counter any unfavorable preconceived notions prospective influencers and decision-makers may have of our community.
Digital access paves the way. For instance, the property search tool on DevelopFlintandGenesee.org gives site selectors the ability to see, on their computer screens, what buildings and sites are available to meet their needs. It also includes a 3-D rendering tool to help them visualize how a new facility might fit on a vacant lot. The data center provides access to intelligence, such as critical infrastructure, incentives and utilities, businesses need to make investment decisions. Paired with tools like Zoom, the Economic Alliance team is better equipped for more detailed meetings with decision-makers from regions such as Europe, Asia or the West Coast.
Additionally, Developflintandgenesee.org serves as a vital resource when the Economic Alliance team responds to requests-for-proposals (RFPs) and requests-for-information (RFIs). Already, these formalized responses allow us to provide detailed site-specific information to companies that are conducting national site searches. But the website delivers expanded information and photography on a variety of quality-of-life factors that influence companies’ investment decisions, including communities, housing costs, education, health care and recreational options. In short, information about what it means to live, work and play in Flint & Genesee.
The retention and attraction of large-scale employers is certainly essential to the economic vitality of our community but so, too, is the growth and sustainability of the county’s entrepreneurial class, including our mom-and-pop shops.
Developflintandgenesee.org was built for them, too. Resources of the Economic Alliance’s popular Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the Small Business Help Desk are also accessible on the website and includes resources for planning, launching and growing a small business in Genesee County. Individuals also are able to schedule no-cost, personal 1:1 virtual coaching sessions online.
With the launch of Developflintandgenesee.org, we have another efficient and effective way to communicate to our audience of businesses who we are and how we can help them. Advancing and promoting economic prosperity in Genesee County is in the best interests of our residents, too.
Kristina Johnston is the chief operating officer of the Flint & Genesee Group.