Business leaders gather in Green to discuss business growth

Finding time and accessing available resources may be the biggest stumbling blocks for businesses seeking qualified employees and looking for growth opportunities, according to those attending an Oct. 21 “Open for Business” discussion, facilitated by the city of Green, Green Area Chamber of Commerce and Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro.

“We want to identify some things we would like to see happen in Summit County to attract, keep, and help businesses grow,” Shapiro said of the meeting, pointing out that she has hosted other such gatherings throughout the county.

The goal of the meeting was to allow citizens and business owners to meet with public officials and participate in discussions about small business, economic development, new funding sources, new workforce programs, and new opportunities.

Following presentations by the civic and municipal agencies, attendees began to address specific issues that affect their businesses on a regular basis – primarily in two areas: finding employees and ensuring that new business development comes to, or stays in, the county.

To the latter issue, Shapiro encouraged communication and cooperation between Summit County communities – in essence turning the idea of anti-poaching regulations on its ear in the pursuit of more regional business growth and economic success.

“When, for example, Hudson gets a lead on a business but they don’t have the land, what often happens is when the project doesn’t (immediately) work, it dies,” Shapiro said. “We need to (begin considering potential sites) elsewhere in the county. And if not in the county, then in Ohio.”

Development Finance Authority President Chris Burnham, however, cautioned against being overly optimistic about changing long held attitudes about anti-poaching.

“You want to ‘win’ for the broader county, but we need to break those parochial interests,” he said. “When a company gets a lead, they are very reluctant to let it go – then it goes to Portage County.”

McKee encouraged the formation of a central clearinghouse of workforce development resources, stating, “(Business owners) just don’t have time.”

“(Agencies like) ConxusNEO can only take it so far,” he said.

Shapiro agreed that streamlining the process and making recruitment easier for businesses is important. However, as a former small business owner herself, Shapiro said it is ultimately the owner’s responsibility to “take ownership” of the hiring process and make the time.

Daryl Revoldt, executive director of workforce and economic development at Stark State University, concurred that many brilliant business leaders are woefully lacking in basic recruitment techniques.

Read original article here.

Lisik, Brian. (2016, November 3).  Business leaders gather in Green to discuss business growth.  The Surbanite.  Retrieved from