Chester County Economic Development recently announced its Strategic Plan for the county over the next five years.
The plan outlines main goals for the county as it continues to strive for economic growth and expansion, providing a framework for how Chester County can achieve these objectives. The goals are:
- Capture Opportunities from Transformational Economic Development Projects
- Define the Chester County Story through Marketing
- Website Upgrade that Reflects the New Chester County
- Develop New Business Recruitment Strategies
- Product Development
- Increase Funding and Staffing for Economic Development
- Enhanced Business Retention and Expansion Program
- Create a Quality Talent Pipeline
- Small Business Development
- Tourism Development
- Growing, Thriving Chester County Towns
Capture Opportunities from Transformational Economic Development Projects
With hundreds of millions of investment dollars in 2014 and 2015, Chester County will work to ensure continued capitalization on new opportunities over the next five years. It can do this by completing an updated land use planning process that will accommodate development while maintaining the county’s character, studying the processes by which exemplar communities have grown, and ensuring that county infrastructure is prepared for the new demands that will accompany growth.
Define the Chester County Story through Marketing and Website Upgrade that Reflects the New Chester County
Chester County’s story of determination, investment, and change must be shared through a strong internal marketing program. In order to do this, the county will work to polish its story with the help of a marketing or PR firm, add a marketing position to its staff, utilize social media and increase publicity opportunities, and use research and data to demonstrate how Chester County’s economy is growing.
Additionally, as Chester County defines its story and shares it with others, an updated, enhanced website and marketing materials will help the area market itself successfully and attract businesses to the county.
Develop New Business Recruitment Strategies
The county will also focus on developing new business recruitment strategies. Chester County can leverage the I-77 Alliance and Charlotte Regional Partnership for sales trips, trade shows, mission trips, and site selection consultant trips that will attract new businesses.
The county will develop marketing materials specific to niche sectors, explaining why Chester County is the perfect place to locate or grow a business. The area will also work to bring suppliers for Giti Tire to Chester County; the company opened a $560 million, 1,700-job plant in Chester County in 2014, creating an important opportunity for the area to attract ancillary businesses that can serve Giti’s manufacturing needs.
To support all of this work, the county will also use data mining to identify the needs of target sectors, helping to attract these industries to the area.
Because site or building availability has played an incredibly important role in attracting businesses to Chester County in the past, another one of the county’s goals will be product development.
The area will aim to develop an action plan for top priority sites, annually certify one site or park, identify an I-77 property for a potential business park, and allocate a dedicated funding stream to product development.
Increase Funding and Staffing for Economic Development
Accomplishing all of these goals will take time, effort, and financial resources, so it’s important that Chester County Economic Development has increased funding and staffing over the next five years. This will enable it to facilitate the county’s economy growth. The office hopes to add an Assistant Director, Business Retention and Expansion Manager, and Marketing position.
Enhanced Business Retention and Expansion Program
In addition to attracting new businesses to the county, Chester County will aim to enhance its business retention and expansion program.
45% of businesses in the county plan to expand, creating new investment and jobs in the area. In order to facilitate this process, Chester County will strive to provide existing industrial partners with relevant information on the local economy, new regulator changes, and policies that affect business through newsletters, seminars, and lunch-and-learn programs.
It will also organize networking forums for businesses and utilize a customer relationship management program that will help it track existing business information and follow up on the leads it creates.
Create a Quality Talent Pipeline
Workforce development is another critical component in facilitating economic growth in Chester County, and the area will work to attract and retain quality talent.
In order to do this, Chester County will produce a video to raise awareness about local job opportunities, conduct a workforce study, and explore a Work Ethics Certification Program.
It will also work with local schools, aiming for every student to graduate not only with a high school diploma but also with a certification or qualification that signifies workforce readiness.
Small Business Development
The county has identified a gap in services to support small businesses and entrepreneurs and will strive to close this gap over the next five years; to support small business development, Chester County will aim to hire a small business liaison, create online resources for starting a business in different industries, and survey small businesses to determine whether gaps in current services exist in financing, space, or management support.
Heritage tourism, agri-tourism, and recreation tourism are quickly becoming a growing part of the Chester County economy, and the area hopes to develop the tourism industry by creating an agency dedicated to tourism.
The county will work to create and expand agri-tourism events such as the Ag + Arts Tour, develop a “What’s Up in Chester County” website that shares and markets community events, and advocate for sports and recreation development and investment.
Growing, Thriving Chester County Towns
Growing, thriving towns are pivotal in attracting and retaining businesses in Chester County. The area will focus on downtown development, attracting retirees—potentially by developing a Certified Retirement Community, and emphasizing appearance standards and beautification of towns.
Chester County’s economy has grown significantly over the past five years, and the next five years hold just as much promise and opportunity. The Chester County Economic Development Strategic Plan will help guide the area throughout this phase of growth, establishing important goals that will be pivotal as the county continues to undergo significant, transformational economic development.
For more information, visit the Chester County Economic Development website