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By Michael Chambers, Swift Biotechnology LLC and Mobile Area Chamber 2014 Chairman of the Board
Whether it’s in business, sports or personal relationships, assessing where you’ve been is a necessary step to move forward. In the following pages of this magazine, you’ll see an assessment of the Mobile Area Chamber’s top 2014 accomplishments, which ends with an overview of our plan of action for 2015.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I first walked up the theater steps at the Mobile Civic Center and spoke to well over a thousand of you about the Chamber’s and my personal goals for the coming year.
The two things I was most interested in were entrepreneurship training and mentoring – both critical for the success of young companies and small businesses.
When the Chamber hosted a Leaders Exchange trip to St. Louis, Mo., in June, we focused on what St. Louis has done to facilitate the growth of young companies and entrepreneurs. We want to attract more 20- to 30-year-olds to Mobile, as everyone agrees that targeting that demographic is critical for our continued economic growth.
After coming home, participants stepped forward and agreed to serve on a committee focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation. The new group, known as “Innovate Mobile,” has a mission to explore a new technology corridor in the downtown area. The initial plan is to determine the feasibility of a science and technology park in downtown, complementing the one at the University of South Alabama.
We also wanted to create a training and mentoring program to encourage and support these young professionals. The new program is named “1702,” after the year our city was founded, and Dean Parker has agreed to step in to create the program and run it for a year. Cash and in-kind services have been pledged so we could apply for grants to get this initiative up and running in 2015.
None of Mobile’s successes and failures happen without purpose. I’ve always loved Mobile, and having watched countless people raise their hands and roll up their sleeves to grow our community leaves me inspired and thankful.
This Chamber is in very capable hands with Frank Lott of Heritage Homes as its 2015 chairman and Mark Nix with Infirmary Health as chair-elect. And I very much look forward to working with them this coming year.
With best regards,
Swift Biotechnology LLC
Mobile Area Chamber
2014 Chairman of the Board
Click here to read The Business View – February 2015