Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp. enters partnership with Greater Green Bay Chamber
CASCO – The Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp. and Greater Green Bay Chamber announced this week they have entered into a partnership to bring awareness of business opportunities in Kewaunee County to a wider audience and provide support for the economic development corporation to attain its goals.
The corporation hopes to gain several benefits from the partnership, which the two entities have been discussing for some time, Executive Director Ben Nelson said. Those benefits come from having an expanded reach through the Green Bay Chamber and being able to make use of some of the chamber's resources. Besides Nelson, only two other staff members are listed on the corporation website, a newsletter editor and online media manager.
"The (corporation) has a small staff," Nelson said. "The Green Bay chamber has more staff, more resources we don't have … Once I came on board (in January), we started to get more conversation about how we could help each other out.
"The partnership really expands our ability to deliver on (our) goals much faster. We can learn from their experience, not have to re-create the wheel."
Nelson called the partnership a natural fit for both organizations. Kewaunee County is part of the larger Green Bay Metropolitan Statistical Area of 326,000 people, which includes Oconto and Brown counties. And, a number of people live in one of the two counties but commute to work in the other one, Nelson said.
One area where Nelson said the Green Bay Chamber can help is attracting businesses to Kewaunee County. It might seem counterproductive for the Green Bay organization to offer business opportunities in a neighboring county, but Nelson said Brown County has limited room for businesses to open and build their own space, or to expand their existing buildings, which is where one benefit to the Green Bay Chamber comes into play.
"(The corporation) is going to be an advocate for Kewaunee County businesses and developments, and we'll be trying to draw some of that attention to the region," Nelson said. "Green Bay can provide great strength and awareness of us. They're kinda the epicenter of our (Metropolitan Statistical Area); hopefully, that can foster some connections."
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Nelson also hopes the partnership will help foster cooperative business-to-business relationships between Kewaunee and Brown counties, possibly extending those partnerships into Oconto and Door counties as well. He said the Green Bay Chamber is well-positioned to aid the corporation in that effort.
"One of the things the chamber has the benefit of is, they already have fairly strong, established relationships in the Green Bay community," Nelson said. "Plus, they have played an integral role in the business-to-business community."
Another piece of the partnership is the Green Bay Chamber has an existing physical and virtual business incubator, called the Startup Hub, and entrepreneurial programs which will be available to those from Kewaunee County looking to start a business. Nelson said one of the corporation's short-term goals for 2021 was to create and offer what he called an "entrepreneurial road map" for prospective business owners in the county.
"Rather than try to compete with one another to provide these services, we will have an avenue for Kewaunee County entrepreneurs and businesses," Nelson said.
Other goals Nelson said he hopes to accomplish through the partnership is to assemble a property and development database, which he said the organization has "… long desired to do but we haven't had the capacity," and increase its business retention visits, in which it meets with local businesses to learn what's working or not for them.
"(Business retention visits) are getting the pulse of business in the county," Nelson said. "Just the data we can get is going to be instrumental in shaping the state of business in the county."
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp. enters partnership with Greater Green Bay Chamber