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Lake County's two largest chambers of commerce have announced a new joint initiative called the Lake County IN Economic Alliance. Officials from the Crossroads Regional, representing Merrillville and Crown Point, and Lakeshore chamber, serving Hammond and East Chicago, say the new economic development group is meant to foster job growth and encourage more investment in the Region. Crossroads Chamber President and CEO Sue Reed says they want the alliance to be there for existing businesses: "One of our biggest intiatiives is that we want to be able to help to retain and help expand businesses in the area, by encouraging job growth and investment." Reed says they'll also be utiilizing surveys through the Northwest Indiana Forum assessing needs for potential expansion, and to find out if there are barriers holding the businesses back or barriers that may have them thinking of moving out of the area. Reed says the hope is the alliance will eventually become the “lead responder” so when a new company is looking at coming into the area, the alliance would receive that lead, tell the company about available properties, set up the appropriate people to meet, and then at that point it would be up to the city or town to take over and 'seal the deal'. The two chambers represent more than 12-hundred businesses. Hear more of our interview with Sue Reed at Region News On Demand
Hammond, IN (January 24, 2013)—The Crossroads Regional and Lakeshore Chambers announced a newly formed joint initiative, the Lake County IN Economic Alliance (LCEA). The purpose of the LCEA is to strengthen the economic base and quality of life of its communities by supporting the growth of business and attracting new quality investment that result in greater employment opportunities for Northwest Indiana.
The steering committee chose the name for its duel meaning: Lake County communities and chambers working in cooperation, in alliance as one in a positive direction and the location identification of Lake County IN. LCEA is a 501(c)3 joint effort by the Crossroads and Lakeshore Chambers to help support and supplement the current municipal economic development efforts of the four communities they serve (Crown Point, East Chicago, Hammond and Merrillville), not to duplicate roles.
LCEA will be a single source of information and assistance focused initially on business retention and expansion and participating in regional marketing efforts. It is an extension of what both Chambers currently do—help foster a better climate for current business operations and enhance the community’s quality of life.
“Municipalities have budget constraints, that’s a reality. LCEA is simply the business community stepping up to help fill a need, engage our existing businesses, and support economic development efforts currently underway at the municipal level,” said Dave Ryan, Executive Director of the Lakeshore Chamber.
As research indicates the majority of job growth is from existing operations, LCEA wants to be proactive, fostering job growth and encouraging further investment in the region. Data collected from retention visits will help identify trends and challenges facing business and industry resulting in the opportunity to address critical issues before it’s too late.
Combined, the two chambers represent four major Lake County communities and more than 1200 businesses. Seed monies to organize came from a previously existing, dormant economic development organization under the Crossroads Chamber.
“We invite all Lake County Chambers and communities to join us. Our hope is to continue to grow the collaboration across the county, strengthening Lake County’s commitment to cultivate economic opportunity together and take advantage of collective assets like proximity to Chicago, Lake Michigan, great infrastructure and a skilled workforce,” said Sue Reed, President & CEO of the Crossroads Regional Chamber.
LCEA is guided by a Board of Directors supportive of a collaborative effort on behalf of the four communities and as things progress, working with entire county in alliance to attract and retain quality jobs and investment.