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The increasingly globalized economy, combined with the economic realities of the past decade have dramatically reshaped the economic development landscape. These changes are causing businesses and economic developers alike to renew their focus on talent attraction and foster environments ripe for entrepreneurship. All the while, technology continues to evolve, seemingly shrinking the world we live in and opening up new possibilities for business attraction and expansion.
Communities across the country are entering this new frontier with open minds, producing innovative solutions to these monumental challenges, and with the work of the Chamber and the Springfield Business Development Corporation, Springfield is at the forefront.
Companies like Bass Pro Shops, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation have defined Springfield’s entrepreneurial culture. These bootstrap innovators turned national corporations have proven southwest Missouri has an environment ripe for economic growth through entrepreneurial activity. Today this culture is driven by a group of enterprising leaders who are building upon this legacy and bringing new innovations to the global marketplace from right here in Springfield. Innovative entrepreneur support programs have converged at The eFactory, which earlier this year received the 2014 Trade and Industry Development Magazine Community Impact Award. Community partners are supporting this movement by aligning resources designed to fill gaps in the services entrepreneurs need to reach success. The result is a developing ecosystem that will allow the next Paul Mueller Company or Jack Henry and Associates to create jobs in our region.
In the last year, the Chamber and its economic development arm, the Springfield Business Development Corporation launched the area’s first comprehensive resource for attracting a talented workforce. The new website LiveInSpringfieldMO.com along with supporting print and digital materials is a one-stop-shop for individuals looking to move to Springfield, Missouri. Our Talent Attraction Initiative is one of a handful around the country that have taken a comprehensive approach backed by market research. By taking this innovative approach, not only are we recognizing the needs of our existing employers, but we’re also setting our community up for growth as the economic landscape continues to shift and employers focus more on talent when choosing new sites to start a business.
The Global Economy
Economic uncertainty is a major factor influencing business decisions today. Companies have money to invest, but they are being very cautious about how and when to do so. Locally, major employers are sinking funds into modernizing and making their companies more efficient. The Chamber and SBDC keep up with these trends through a business assistance program which provides businesses with a single point of entry to a variety of business assistance resources. Through a confidential meeting, our staff ask questions on a variety of topics including workforce, legislative and government affairs, community services and infrastructure, current operation and future planning. Based on that conversation, we coordinate with the organizations and agencies that can help the employer resolve the challenges they are facing. These meetings help the Chamber identify trends that need to be addressed and adapt to the needs of our local employers.