Q: What is the Regional Prosperity Initiative?
The Regional Prosperity Initiative – A Vision for a Greater Columbus Georgia” is a holistic community and economic development strategy that focuses first on building a strong community. It addresses the full range of factors that influences the community’s economic competitiveness – its talent, education and training systems, business climate, infrastructure, quality of life, and quality of place.
It was led by Tri-Chairs Jacki Lowe, retired West Region Vice President for Georgia Power Company; Audrey Tillman, Esq., Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Aflac; and Jimmy Yancey, retired Chairman of Synovus.
The Regional Prosperity Initiative was broken into 4 phases that started in July of 2015.
PHASE 1 – COMPETITIVE ASSESSMENT (July 2015): The Competitive Assessment will answer the question: “How is Greater Columbus doing?” Market Street will develop original quantitative and qualitative research and conduct public input – in the form of focus groups, interviews, and an online survey – to evaluate the community’s competitiveness as a place to live, learn, work, visit, and do business. The findings will be integrated into key “stories” facing Greater Columbus as it seeks to grow and expand its economy, increase levels of prosperity, and improve the quality of life for its current and future residents. The community’s competitiveness will be benchmarked against three metro areas with which Greater Columbus competes for both jobs and workers
PHASE 2 – TARGET BUSINESS ANALYSIS & MARKETING REVIEW (September 2015): The Target Business Analysis will identify those business sectors that will drive future growth and opportunity in Greater Columbus. Market Street will conduct a detailed examination of the region’s economic composition and identify the sectors that have the greatest potential to create new jobs and elevate standards of living in Greater Columbus. Resources for economic development efforts are limited and must be utilized in a way that will result in the highest return on investment for the community, its businesses, and its workers. The Marketing Review will analyze the existing economic and community marketing efforts of The Valley Partnership and Chamber to identify any areas for improvement.
PHASE 3 – STRATEGIC PLAN (January 2016): The Regional Prosperity Initiative brings together the findings from the first two phases of the process to create a “Vision for a Greater Columbus.” This holistic five-year community and economic development strategy will be a consensus blueprint for raising prosperity in the region. Strategic recommendations will be driven by the research findings – including both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Examples of best practice programs, policies, and initiatives from communities around the country will be included when relevant and appropriate to help form strategic recommendations and their subsequent implementation.
PHASE 4 – IMPLEMENTATION PLAN (January 2017): While the Regional Prosperity Initiative will detail what Greater Columbus needs to do, the Implementation Plan will outline how it will be accomplished. For each of the strategic recommendations, the Implementation Plan will identify lead implementers, key partners, potential costs, the appropriate timeline for implementation, and metrics for gauging implementation success.
Funding for the eight-month process was provided by the generous support of the Development Authority of Columbus, Georgia; the Moselle W. and H Quigg Fletcher, Jr., Endowment Fund, an Undesignated Community Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley, Inc.; Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce; TSYS; and the W.C. Bradley Company.
Q: What is Columbus 2025?
Columbus 2025 is a multi-year program of work designed to foster a competitive economy, focusing on the region’s community, economic, talent and workforce development efforts. The programs of work build on the key findings from the Regional Prosperity Initiative, which was developed to provide a roadmap for the region’s future success. The investments are long-term in nature and are critical to the region’s efforts to build a more successful business climate and to improve the overall quality of life.
It is chaired by Billy Blanchard, Principal and Board Member for Jordan-Blanchard Capital. Audrey Tillman, Esq., Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Aflac, serves as the Vice Chair.
The five goal areas are:
- Talented, Educated People – Jackie Lowe, Chair
- Targeted Economic Growth – Jason Cuevas, Chair
- An Enterprising Culture – Russ Carreker, Chair
- Vibrant and Connected Places – Betsy Covington, Chair
- A Cohesive Image and Identity – Peter Bowden, Chair
Columbus 2025 addresses the goals of
- Reducing poverty
- Increasing prosperity
- Improving the quality of life in our region
Q: HOW DOES THE COLUMBUS 2025 INITIATIVE DEFINE ITS SUCCESS?
Columbus 2025 efforts are measured by a series of Core Indicators and Key Strategy Metrics. These include indicators such as population growth, per capita income and poverty rates.
A full explanation of each goal area can be found in the Learn section of the website.
Q: WHAT ARE THE DETAILS ON THE COMMUNITY BRANDING INITIATIVE?
A key objective in Columbus 2025 is to develop a positive and unified community brand to promote the region to audiences both inside and outside Greater Columbus. Work is completed on the development of a new brand identity for Columbus, GA.
To find details and FAQs on the processes associated with the community branding, click here.
Also, visit www.amazingcolumbusga.com for more information.