In August, my family joined the Gainesville community in pursuit of helping create a thriving, globally competitive economy. Over the past few years, business and community leaders have transformed the Chamber-led Innovation Gainesville (iG) plan from a job creation initiative into a cultural mindset. Today, we find ourselves well positioned for the beginning of a global war for jobs.
Over the next 30 years, global annual GDP (gross domestic product- the best measure of economic activity) will grow from $60 trillion to an estimated $200 trillion. Our community will strive to be successful as the world experiences this significant change, where some will succeed and others will fail.
Not only will we lead iG forward as a job creation initiative, but also, we will foster economic opportunities, so all of our friends, colleagues and neighbors can dream big. Thriving businesses and successful entrepreneurs are the backbone to a thriving community. What results is hope, a way to escape poverty, well-funded schools and infrastructure, and support for non-profits that improve the quality of life for all of us.
Every day, we work with small businesses struggling with tough decisions and looking for resources to grow their business and achieve their dreams. Sometimes we connect them with one of our Entrepreneur Roundtable small groups that meet monthly to learn from one another. Sometimes we bring international speakers to Gainesville to broaden the perspective and knowledge of our business leaders. Other days, we work with a company in town to use our economic development toolkit to help them expand and train new employees to enhance their company’s ability to compete globally.
The economic challenges we face as a community have real consequences. Not every community will have a thriving economy and benefit from changes in the global marketplace. In fact, many communities will see their workforce decline, their infrastructure crumble and their cost of doing business soar. The Chamber will keep our eye on the ball and work tirelessly to foster job creation and economic opportunity, as Alachua County continues to be a place where our friends, neighbors and graduates pursue their dreams.
We have assets other communities dream of: a talented workforce, world-class educational and healthcare systems, cultural assets and a high quality of life. However, we also have neighbors who are without a good job and neighborhoods grabbling with the pervasive realities of poverty. Our community must rise together and create economic opportunities so all of our neighbors, friends and graduates can pursue their hopes and dreams in Alachua County.
If you haven’t already joined our effort, we welcome you to do so. It is through a collaborative approach to job creation that will ensure our community prospers. We need you. Together, we are Innovation Gainesville.