Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Development group hopes to profit from teaching venture

Kalamazoo-based Southwest Michigan First is moving into for-profit territory with the creation of Consultant Connect LLC, which aims to help economic development groups connect with and learn from site consultants around the country.

The nonprofit has contracted with New York City-based Development Counsellors International to provide programming and other services for the new venture — led by Jennifer Owens, who operates it as part of her responsibilities as a vice president of Southwest Michigan First.

The goal is to sign up 50 agencies by the end of the year. Each would pay $5,000 for access to quarterly strategy webinars with four site consultants.

So far, 39 have signed up, said Ron Kitchens, Southwest Michigan First's CEO.

Each Consultant Connect webinar focuses on how to improve a particular skill needed in economic development, including how to impress site consultants with an area's workforce, the most effective deal-closing programs and what marketing tools site consultants care about.More here.

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