Roles in Economic Development
One of the most overlooked but critically important economic development tools is an active and involved community. The Keene Downtown Merchants Group and Keene Development Commission are ideal partners in pursuing this work, as well as Monadnock Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce and Hannah Grimes. Given that Keene has so many different groups focusing on aspects of the local economy, it may be worthwhile establishing a Sustainable Economic Development Commission. This commission should include representation from various economic stakeholder groups and could be charged with helping to create a unified message, sharing of resources, and planning for a sustainable, local economy. The government and the private sector both understand the need for economic development and proactive attention to the economy. Cooperation and a close working relationship between the community and its leaders will help sustain local businesses and recruit the kinds of job-creating industries that meet Keene's vision for the future. The following list of roles is intended to help establish the ways available resources can be best used.
Monadnock Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Monadnock Economic Development Corporation has been a longtime partner with the City of Keene and the community in the redevelopment of the city. This group has been successful in recruiting new industries to the community and in managing development projects. Some of Keene’s larger businesses, such as C&S, Janos Technologies, and Precitech, were recruited in partnership with MEDC. This group has been and should continue to be an excellent resource to understand the needs of existing business owners. Over time, the relationship between MEDC and the city has evolved. It may be time to evaluate that relationship to refocus efforts in order to ensure that these two groups work in close collaboration for citywide economic development opportunities.
Cheshire County and Surrounding Municipalities
The impacts of new job opportunities and community amenities are shared by the city, county, and region as a whole. There is a good chance that large employers may locate outside the city limits. Therefore, cooperation and tight coordination of the Regional Economic Development Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) that are provided through the Regional Planning Commission will be imperative to the region’s overall economic stability.
Hannah Grimes Center
The Hannah Grimes Center helps entrepreneurs and small-business owners start and grow their businesses through professional consulting, training, and resources. The center combines the resources of professional staff, private sector, and state and local resources to provide high quality business management consulting, education programs, and practical information. The center is invaluable to small start-up businesses in the community and the region.
Hannah Grimes’ mission to educate entrepreneurs is rooted in the vision that the success of these entrepreneurs results in a thriving local economy and vibrant community built upon our region’s heritage, culture, natural resources, and the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. Hannah Grimes is an essential hub in developing an innovative, creative, civic-minded network of entrepreneurs deeply committed to their community.
Keene Chamber of Commerce
The Keene Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for regionwide businesses and provides its members with a variety of networking, education, marketing and community service programs. It will be imperative that the Chamber of Commerce work with the City of Keene and MEDC in the future to ensure a consistent message in the recruitment of businesses to the area as well as support to existing businesses.