No doubt, the world has changed significantly over these last two years. But at the Round Rock Chamber, one thing has not changed: We remain focused on supporting Round Rock’s growth and creating economic opportunity for all our businesses and residents.
And though this past year continued to be filled with challenges and uncertainty brought by the pandemic, the Round Rock Chamber experienced another extraordinary year thanks to the ongoing support of our strong and resilient business community.
The Chamber team was hard at work this past year producing some incredible results and outcomes contributing to the overall economic vitality of our city and region.
But at the same time, we were also hard at work laying the foundation for the future of our program:
- In 2021, the Chamber re-engaged Garner Economics, a national site selection and consulting firm, to refresh our economic development strategy with an updated set of target industry sectors and program recommendations.
- We also partnered with global economic development marketing agency, Development Counsellors International, to launch an external branding and marketing plan to support our national business recruitment efforts.
- And just last month, we completed a life science industry development initiative leveraging national subject matter experts and regional stakeholders to develop a step-by-step playbook on how to develop a true, life science cluster right here in Round Rock.
- The results from these initiatives will serve as a “roadmap” for execution of the Chamber’s program of work for the next three to five years, and beyond.
Our theme for the new year is “Step Up.” The “Step Up” tagline is an outcome of the branding and marketing initiative that I just mentioned.
It serves as a direct call for businesses and people looking for their next opportunity to Step Up to Business Made Easy. Step Up Their Lifestyle. Step Up to Round Rock. But it also serves as a call to action for all of us – for the Round Rock Chamber and leaders of our community.
It’s no secret that Round Rock has experienced a remarkable transformation over the past decades. But rather than resting on our laurels, we are asking the question: How can we “Step Up” to secure Round Rock’s position as the best place to live and work – not just in Central Texas, but in the country?
As we work to address that very question, we have been asked to Step Up our efforts this year in four key areas:
- ASSIST OUR BUSINESSES IN RECOVERING FROM THE PANDEMIC
Support for local employers remains a large and important part of our program, especially as the Round Rock business community continues to face challenges brought on by COVID-19.
One of the greatest challenges we know businesses are facing today is related to workforce and talent development. By now many of us have likely heard the phrase “The Great Resignation” – and that is a very real challenge facing our business community. In fact, it’s been reported that more than 42 million employees left their jobs in 2021.
This is why it is more critical than ever to not only position Round Rock as an attractive location to attract new talent, but also to further enhance our partnerships with our K-12, workforce and higher education partners to develop a skilled workforce that can meet the labor market demands today and for the future.
In addition to addressing workforce needs, will also be Stepping Up our Business Retention & Expansion efforts to regularly connect with our existing businesses to identify potential additional challenges and provide assistance and connections to resources that are needed for growth and recovery.
- FOSTER REGIONAL CONNECTIONS
Central Texas and Williamson County is booming, and the success and prosperity of our broader region is important for our own growth and competitiveness.
This why the Chamber will enhance our work with partners in Williamson County and across Central Texas to develop a shared regional approach to both our economic development strategy and public policy agendas.
And while we regularly collaborate with our economic development partners throughout Williamson County, we will be working even closer together to better showcase our collective assets and more cohesively market the region and county as an area of opportunity.
We will also continue to foster relationships with our elected officials and policy makers to ensure the economic vitality of Round Rock, especially as we prepare for the 88th legislative session that is fast approaching us next year.
- CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR BUSINESSES
The Chamber will Step Up our efforts and allocate more resources to ensuring we represent all businesses within our community.
We will strengthen our already strong entrepreneurship initiatives by encouraging innovation and supporting additional startup programs and events, including the first ever Round Rock Business Plan Competition in partnership the Round Rock Public Library and the City of Round Rock.
We will also seek out and identify new opportunities to elevate and better support women- and minority-owned businesses, so that we may champion a culture of diversity and inclusion.
And we will continue to Step Up the value we offer to our investors by offering dynamic and relevant programing that provides meaningful connections as well as opportunities for business development and education.
- EXCELLENCE IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Expanding economic opportunity is the foundation of the Chamber, so we will continue to foster an economic climate in which businesses can start, relocate or expand.
We laid the groundwork last year to move forward with a refreshed and energized economic development program of work that will allow our team to be both strategic and focused.
We will accelerate the work of our sector-specific initiatives by continuing to mobilize the expertise and connections of our regional business leaders in the defense and life science sectors – with plans to eventually create target industry advisory groups across all our key verticals.
With limitations on travel the past two years, we are hopeful to again lead national recruitment trips with our business and community leaders to meet face-to-face with prospect companies in our target sectors and site selection consultants, who often influence business location decisions.
And finally, we will Step Up our marketing initiatives to better communicate Round Rock’s competitive business and quality of life advantages to our target audiences.
We will do this by leveraging the new branding and marketing messaging that was developed last year to create a full suite of new marketing/sales materials, launch strategic digital and social media campaigns and a create a new website for the Round Rock Chamber.
But of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our investors to ensure we have the necessary resources to serve the community. And that also means a fully funded Momentum campaign to support these efforts.
For those of you who are not familiar, Momentum is a five-year, public-private partnership between the Round Rock Chamber, City of Round Rock and private sector businesses from around the region who play a critical role in funding the execution of the Chamber’s economic development strategy.
We officially launched the 2022 – 2026 Momentum Capital Campaign at the end of last year and set a goal to raise more money during this campaign than in the history of the program. To do this, we assembled a group of volunteer leaders that have dedicated months of their time to ensuring this campaign is a success. So much work has been done, and I am proud to say that we are well on our way to not only meeting but exceeding our campaign goal.
With two months left in the capital campaign, we are thankful for the more than 60 businesses who have already committed to investing in Momentum for the next five years. For anybody who has questions about Momentum or how to get involved, I would welcome the opportunity to share with you the potential impact of your investment on the community.
Looking forward, the Round Rock Chamber has a rock-solid team in place and a bold, strategic plan that is ready to execute. I am truly excited about the direction the Chamber is headed, and we want you to know that we will continue to Step Up.
Thank you again for your ongoing support, and I look forward to all that we will accomplish together in the year ahead.
Round Rock Chamber
Interim President and CEO