Why chambers of commerce should focus on economic development
by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on September 9th, 2016

Phoenix Business Blog - Robert Heidt & Todd Sanders, Contributing Writers

​Times have changed, and so has the role of chambers of commerce. Traditionally, chambers focused on networking events, public policy, ribbon-cutting ceremonies and providing out-of-state visitors with helpful information. The Great Recession, however, changed the rules, and we as an industry have accepted the challenge of providing all the programs and services of the past while revving our economic development engines into high gear.

Chambers of commerce have a significant impact on the overall quality of life and perception of our communities. Essential to economic growth, chambers are pro-business organizations that work to ensure the production side of the economy has a voice at the policy table. We are catalysts who bring about change. We’re at the front line to sound the alarm when something is not working for business and advocate for more effective ways of doing things. We work to grow Arizona businesses, Arizona jobs and our regional economy.

​This economic blocking and tackling is a natural fit for chambers because it has always been in our wheelhouse; in essence, it is woven into the very fabric of the work we do, day in and day out. And the reason is as startlingly simple as one single word: jobs. Simply put, economic growth means job growth and job growth means strong and vibrant communities.

We actively welcome and embrace businesses that have relocated into our communities and cities. Our focus on business retention and job creation ultimately leads to greater economic prosperity which enables our cities and towns to provide the infrastructure and services that are needed for modern society.

We cannot do it alone. Chambers of commerce complement other economic development players by collaborating on the big picture, rather than acting contrary to those efforts in a vacuum. We are conveners and connectors, bringing together industry leaders, elected officials and the broader community to support a business-friendly climate. The advantages of taking a collective approach to economic development minimize barriers for businesses to relocate or expand and, in turn, benefit us all.

We all share a common goal to grow the region. And it’s up to all of us as a community to make sure businesses stay here. We’re in this together.


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