Campaign takes LEAD to revitalize Toledo economyWritten by Miranda Bond | | email@example.com
The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Growth Partnership say the $9.25 million they collected will be the fuel to spark economic growth in Northwest Ohio.
The one-year fund-raiser was part of the Leadership for Economic Advancement and Development program, a five-year economic plan aimed at supporting existing businesses and recruiting new companies to the area. Chamber of Commerce and RGP members met with business leaders to solicit funds for the project. More than 60 businesses donated to LEAD.
”The private sector overwhelmingly embraced the program and recognized the need to strengthen the economic development process,” said Mark V’Soske, CAE, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. ”We’ve
significantly exceeded out $8 million goal.”
President and CEO of RGP, Steve Weathers, said the diversity in businesses that supported the initiative will lead to strong support in the future.
”A broad spectrum of businesses see a benefit to proactive involvement,” Weathers said.
Weathers said LEAD has allowed RGP to be privately funded. He said this independence will make the project more streamlined and less bureaucratic.
Weathers said details of how the money will be spent are being discussed. He said some funds will go toward a software program which will be designed to keep capital in the region.
The software, called ”Connectery,” will allow local businesses to register their products and services so other local businesses are aware of what they have to offer. If local businesses use the software to buy from one another, dollars will be spent within the region, rather than out of sate. Weathers said there is about $50 million to $100 million in local business spending going on outside of the region.
Connectery will be free of charge to businesses in 11 surrounding counties.
”We are trying to connect the left hand and the right hand,” Weathers said.
Weathers said events such as the privatization of RGP and the Medical University of Ohio and UT merger are an indication of a shift in momentum of the economy in the region.
”All of the sudden we have all of these activities that are starting to happen,” he said. ”In five years, Northwest Ohio will not look the same. We will have higher-paying jobs and economic prosperity.”