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Date ArticleType
4/30/2018 EconomicDevelopment

Little Rock Regional Chamber and Partners Unveil Economic Development Strategy and Announce Major Corporate Investment

The Little Rock Regional Chamber, through its MetRock Now economic development campaign, selected local economic development strategy firm Boyette Strategic Advisors to embark on a nine-month community and economic development strategy creation process. On Monday, the Chamber released the results of that process. MetRock 2020 will serve as the roadmap for the Chamber’s economic development efforts over the next three years and beyond while also a rallying point for future business investment. Download the MetRock 2020 Executive Summary or the MetRock 2020 Strategic Plan.

The Chamber undertook this work in close partnership with Mayor Joe Smith of North Little Rock, Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock and Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde along with the North Little Rock Chamber and Economic Development Corporation. “This work was intentionally inclusive,” said Rick Riley, CEO of Entergy Arkansas Inc. and Chamber Economic Development Chair. “We look forward to implementing together this important county-wide vision for regional economic development.”

A core team of 17 community and business leaders helped shepherd the work which involved over 500 stakeholders through interviews, focus groups and surveys. The strategy focused on benchmarking several other competitor regions along with researching best practices from around the country. Ultimately six focus areas were identified including Business Vitality/Policy, Infrastructure/Product, Marketing/Communications, Workforce/Talent, Entrepreneurship/Innovation, and Community Vitality.

“While we have a lot of work ahead to remain competitive for jobs and investment, we need to focus on each of these six areas,” said Jay Chesshir, President & CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. “Economic development is not just about working deals. We need to make sure we are investing in our total community product which will lead to additional successful expansion and new location decisions, and most importantly, growing the economy for all.”

In addition to the release of the MetRock 2020 strategy, Chamber officials announced a new investment in one of the core focus areas, infrastructure and product. The Arvest Foundation announced an investment of $25,000 to be used for research and feasibility of developing new sites.

President & CEO of Arvest Central Arkansas, Jim Cargill, was on hand to make the presentation. “As a member of this community, and an Arkansas-based company, we are proud to do our part to help position central Arkansas as a destination of choice for new and innovative businesses.”

The Little Rock Regional Chamber will begin implementing this plan immediately, but one thing is clear, additional resources will be needed to accomplish all the goals of this work. Cathy Tuggle, Owner/Principal of Apartment Hunters and 2018 Chamber Board Chairman issued a call to the business community to invest in this work. “We hope that many businesses will identify with the goals and vision of this work. The Chamber and its partners are ready to implement this work but as business leaders we must continue to invest in this important work to make sure that Little Rock is a place where people and businesses come to thrive, grow, and succeed.”

Download the MetRock 2020 Executive Summary
Download the MetRock 2020 Strategic Plan