The city of Mesa and towns of Gilbert and Queen Creek will host a virtual conference focused on identifying new strategies and practices for supporting small businesses, developing resiliency and promoting equity and inclusion in small-business recovery.
The event is presented in partnership with TIP Strategies, an economic-development consulting firm, and will be hosted virtually in two morning sessions, both 8-11a.m. on Sept. 29 and 30, according to a release.
The three communities cooperated and won this grant opportunity from NLC’s First-Tier Suburbs Council, competing against several other cities, towns, and regions in the U.S.
“We are honored to be selected by NLC as the winning regional applicant to host this incredibly timely and relevant event,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said in the release. “As an East Valley small business owner myself, I understand the need for meaningful support for small businesses, to match them up with critical resources to navigate a changing business environment and recovery from the pandemic.”
The NLC Small Business Economic Resiliency Conference will include keynote speakers from GoDaddy’s Venture Forward program who will share critical insights on microbusiness ventures, one of the greatest economic strengths in any community. They will also share information from their multi-year study of 20 million microenterprises. Additionally, Empower by GoDaddy will discuss how their efforts focus on leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs in underserved communities by providing tools, training, and peer networks to assist small business owners in starting and growing their ventures.
“Gilbert understands that the small business community needs help overcoming challenges presented by COVID-19,” Mayor Scott Anderson said in the release. “By partnering with our Phoenix East Valley neighbors, we will be able to better connect local businesses with both regional and national service providers.”
Attendees will also hear from economic development directors with the city of Mesa, and towns of Gilbert and Queen Creek, TIP Strategies, Local First Arizona and Co-Hoots about challenges and opportunities to help business adapt to COVID-19 impacts.
Local small businesses that have grown and expanded through the support of their local government — such as Queen Creek’s Old Ellsworth Brewing Co., Gilbert’s Mythical Coffee and Mesa’s Urbix — will also be on hand to discuss site selection assistance, business partnerships and the benefits of becoming an involved community member, the release states.
“Our local businesses are a core component of our communities,” Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney said in the release. “We are committed to supporting our local businesses, launching initiatives to help them adjust during these challenging times. We appreciate the opportunity to host this fantastic virtual summit that will provide additional resources and is another example of our communities coming together to support the region.”
The First Tier Suburbs Council Economic Development Conference is an initiative developed in partnership between NLC and TIP Strategies, Inc. (TIP). NLC created the program to bring together local leaders and stakeholders to identify a collaborative path to address economic development issues.
“The impact of COVID-19 on our communities and small businesses has been devastating,” Clarence Anthony, NLC CEO and executive director, said in the release. “This joint initiative with TIP Strategies offers our city leaders in the Phoenix area a space for this important conversation related to supporting our small business and strengthening our community’s resilience to respond and recover from COVID and the resulting economic crisis. The National League of Cities is honored to join with the city of Mesa, town of Gilbert and Queen Creek to offer this opportunity to local leaders to help them strategize on this and other important issues for addressing this pandemic.”