Chamber Hosts Successful Leaders Exchange in Toulouse
This week, more than 45 Mobile business and community leaders, along with several City of Mobile and Mobile County elected officials traveled to Toulouse, France, as part of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Leaders Exchange. For three days, the delegation met with elected officials in Toulouse, toured Airbus’s global headquarters, participated in sessions on a variety of timely topics such as greenspaces, Smart City, mobility and the arts; and met with University of Toulouse professors and research facility executives. All of this was done to learn more about Toulouse and the Airbus effect on Mobile, and to study best practices that could be implemented in Mobile.
Since 1987, the Mobile Area Chamber has hosted Leaders Exchange and traveled across the country, and once prior to Hamburg, Germany, to participate in conversations covering topics such as economic and community development, parks and recreation, tourism, K-12 and higher education and more. Highlights from the prior four years’ trips included:
2017 – SAN DIEGO
- Entrepreneurial innovation including university-led bio research at University of California San Diego, and grass-roots entrepreneurial development at San Diego Connect
Result/Takeaway: Generated support and built best-practices knowledge for the continued growth of Innovation PortAL.
- Tourism development: Presentations and tours on San Diego’s tourism industry, convention facilities, waterfront, tourism marketing and issue of what to do with abandoned football stadium.
Result/Takeaway: Prompted further discussion and planning on Mobile’s hospitality tax and its use.
- Breakout session on San Diego’s homeless population and urban housing projects.
Result/Takeaway: Good information and lessons learned that will be applied to accommodating Mobile’s homeless population.
2016 – GREENVILLE, S.C.
- Urban development and the codes and building strategies Greenville used in redeveloping their award-winning downtown.
Result/Takeaway: Good information and lessons learned that were applied to Mobile’s new building codes.
- Detailed look at Greenville’s incubator, NEXT.
Result/Takeaway: Generated support and built best-practices knowledge for the building purchase/design and programming for Innovation PortAL.
- Studied Greenville’s automotive manufacturing cluster and the partnerships of BMW, the state of South Carolina and Clemson University in forming a premiere automotive/motorsport research center in Greenville.
Result/Takeaway: Prompted further discussion and planning on Mobile’s aerospace cluster, possible partnerships and creation of an Airbus learning center.
2015 – NEW ORLEANS
- Mobile Leaders heard from 20 speakers representing New Orleans in the areas of entrepreneurship, education, urban redevelopment and community engagement. The breakout sessions included the topics of bio-innovation, urban redevelopment, green entrepreneurialism and innovative education programs such as charter schools.
Result/Takeaway: Wrap up discussion centered on building on Mobile’s strengths. New Orleans has been successful in creating and catering to their own “flavor.” Participants discussed growing Mobile in a way that supports our unique cultural and natural environment.
- Participants heard presentations from Idea Village, New Orleans Entrepreneurial Center and host of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
Result/Takeaway: Furthered Mobile’s learning and planning for Innovation PortAL, Exchange 202 and the overall blossoming entrepreneurial ecosystem.
2014 – ST. LOUIS
- Mobile leaders studied Forest Park, a 1400-acre public park that includes a host of bike and walk trails as well as paddle boats on the lake, the St. Louis Zoo, Science Center, Art Museum and Missouri History Museum. The park is governed by a private nonprofit conservancy that works in partnership with the City of St. Louis and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to restore, maintain and sustain the grounds.
Result/Takeaway: Inspired cooperative effort of Mobile Greenway Initiative, including improvements at Langan Park and the rehabilitation and development of Three Mile Creek.
- Participants visited and learned about Cortex Innovation Community and took an in-depth look at the landmark entrepreneur recruitment efforts that have brought hundreds of start-ups to St. Louis.
Result/Takeaway: Fueled local efforts to develop Mobile’s entrepreneur and start-up community including development of St. Louis Technical Corridor and what is now Innovation PortAL.
- Group studied successful completion of a large downtown urban development project and toured the recently-completed St. Louis interstate bridge over the Mississippi River. Discussions included citizen participation and community support of major infrastructure projects.
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.