Cherokee business leaders joined the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) to officially launch Cherokee By Choice – a $2 million economic development fundraising campaign.
The new five-year public-private partnership reinforces Cherokee’s role as a leader in economic development focusing on three specific goals:
- Grow and diversify Cherokee’s business and tax base
- Grow the local workforce for existing employers
- Grow site and building inventory for commercial investment
Campaign Co-Chairs Mark Goddard, Director of Commercial Marketing for Cobb EMC, and Tim Fernandez, President of YANMAR America, welcomed guests at the Kickoff breakfast at YANMAR America’s new EVO//CENTER located on the Cherokee 75 Corridor. Both chairs and COED President Misti Martin unveiled details of the plan and announced the campaign’s progress to more than 100 business and government leaders.
“Through the collaborative efforts of our business and community leaders, we are pleased to announce that Cherokee By Choice has already secured $1,580,250 in five-year private sector pledges – an impressive 79 percent of our campaign goal of $2 million. We are grateful for the support of our early investors and look forward to new investors joining us,” Goddard said.
The initiative is based on feedback from more than 2,400 business and community leaders during COED’s recent strategic planning process and supported by a feasibility study conducted in 2017 by Power 10, the fundraising firm assisting with the campaign.
Cherokee By Choice expands the work of COED over the next five years, adding 45 new and enhanced specific strategies to address the county’s three biggest challenges to its long-term growth and economic success, including:
- Nearly 80 percent of Cherokee’s workforce, many of whom could be employed locally, leave the county for work.
- With Cherokee and Metro Atlanta’s unemployment below national averages, local employers’ need more assistance and support to match highly-skilled workers with current and future industry needs.
- A lack of construction-ready land and buildings for new and expanding companies.
“Cherokee By Choice builds on our success and moves Cherokee County forward, ensuring we will continue to be a place where businesses prosper and find the talent and resources they need to grow and re-invest in our community,” Fernandez said. “But to do this, we must tackle our challenges and most pressing problems head-on. That’s why it’s so important for the private sector to step up and support what the public sector has already invested in.”
“With the new investment by the private sector, we will be able to launch some exciting and bold new initiatives targeting the specific needs of Cherokee businesses,” said COED President Misti Martin. “Just a couple examples include mobile workforce training labs, an interactive website promoting the skilled professions to students, an expanded business retention visitation program, an aggressive new branding campaign positioning Cherokee as an ideal location for business, and engaging in smart, proactive commercial planning and development.”