Industry Summit focuses on improving local economy

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — As the year winds down, it’s usually a time of reflection for many of us. However, local business owners aren’t reflecting, rather, they’re looking toward the future. More specifically, how to improve the Southern Tiers’ economy.

The first Industry Summit was hosted downtown Wednesday by the Southern Tier 8 Regional Board, an organization dedicated to connecting local businesses with support from the federal level of government. This summit was focused on bringing in as many local business owners as possible from across the area to collaborate.

There were several speakers and presentations, including a lunch designed to connect folks in similar industries so that ideas could be shared. That was the main goal of the summit after all, to connect businesses so they can increase revenue and help the local economy in the process.

“Expand the industries that we do have here and build that regional collaboration from Ithaca, to Norwich, to Binghamton, to Cooperstown,” said Jen Gregory, Executive Director of the Southern Tier 8 Regional Board.

The belief was very much that if businesses could collaborate and help one another, the local economy could  flourish again.

“From the business side, if we all work together, this is a fantastic area where we can see a lot of economic development and growth. Wherever we can support that is why we’re here,” said Chris Houghtaling, Director of Business Development for John G. Ullman & Associates Inc. based out of Corning.

Houghtaling says another important message to take away is: in order to grow the economy, young entrepreneurs need to be brought in and given reason to stay, or just need to stay local if they are from here.

“If we could help them reach those dreams they’re going to stay in the area, be able to take over the family farm in the future. Take over the family business. It’s really going to help, long-term, the economic development of this area.”

This event was the first of many, as the Southern Tier 8 Regional Board is expected to host several more industry-specific events in the next year.

Damon Matson

Damon Matson

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