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Leading CEOs Co-Chair Chamber’s Inaugural Investors Meeting

Emphasizing the value of collaboration, the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, along with its investors, celebrated recent economic development successes in Southeast Michigan during the Foundation’s inaugural investors meeting on March 31.

Investors had the unique opportunity to hear from Economic Development CEO Advisory Board co-chairs Gerard Anderson, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy; Charles “Chip” McClure, CEO of Northstar Capital LLC; and Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System; who called on regional economic development organizations to work together to bring national and foreign investment to the region.

“When you talk about collaboration, you’re talking about one voice and a unified goal,” McClure said, adding that regional messaging and coordinated outreach adds value and impact to business attraction efforts and strategies – ultimately creating more awareness, deal flow and investment.Anderson, who presented the findings of research conducted in the past year by the CEO Advisory Board, said one of the biggest challenges Southeast Michigan faces is marketing itself to global investors in a cohesive way. To address that, Anderson said regional leaders must embrace three best practices:

  • Present Southeast Michigan as one cohesive, seamless region, versus a collection of cities and counties working independently
  • Adopt an “everybody wins” mindset in respect to investment in the region
  • Establish a well thought out strategy for regional economic development with private sector leaders

As part of that effort, during the meeting, the Chamber and 11 economic development organizations representing Southeast Michigan signed a protocol agreement to continue to collaborate on business attraction efforts. In signing the protocol, the regional partners agree to work closely and collaboratively with the Chamber’s Business Attraction staff and with each other.

Following the protocol signing, Schlichting shared testimony about Henry Ford Health System’s collaboration with partners in the city of Detroit and Wayne County before leading investors in a question and answer session to discuss ways to increase economic development partnerships in the region.

Annual Report Highlights Foundation’s Economic Development Progress

During the meeting, the Foundation unveiled its economic development report, highlighting successes in each of its initiatives from the past 18 months. The report revealed that business attraction efforts in Southeast Michigan continue to positively impact the economy, resulting in over $130 million in new investment and over 700 jobs from July 2013 through December 2014. Other successes include upward growth in the Chamber’s MICHauto program, Startgrid entrepreneurship platform, InnoState, and education initiatives. Click here to read the full report.

“Three years ago, we didn’t have a unified regional economic development program. Today we are in the midst of a program that is strong and one that is developing real results to power the economy of Southeast Michigan,” said Chamber president Sandy Baruah, who presented an overview of the Chamber and how its economic development services align with comparable chambers across the United States. Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.

For more information on the Foundation’s economic development initiatives, visit Stay connected with the Foundation’s economic development progress and impact. Look for announcements for quarterly investor meetings throughout the year.

Your Investment at Work

Two case studies featuring businesses that expanded operations in Southeast Michigan were presented at the meeting. View the video below featuring Shiloh Industries in Plymouth and Canton and Brugola USA in Plymouth.

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