Last week, key leaders from the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Wake County Economic Development (WCED) and theDurham Chamber of Commerce hosted leaders from the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce of South Bend, Indiana. The purpose of the visit was for South Bend leadership to hear best practices and lessons learned that have made the Triangle successful.
Following the trip, St. Joseph Chamber president and CEO, Jeff Rea, published a piece outlining takeaways from his visit to the region. Rea references southern hospitality and community leaders who are trusting, supportive and collaborative as his main impressions from the trip. Other key takeaways that he highlights include:
- Individual progress and collaborative success. Individual communities in the Triangle work hard to grow their own areas while still working under a shared vision for the region. Rea applies this notion to his own city of South Bend, “As a region, we have wonderful assets. Individually, we are limited.”
- Trust among community leaders. Triangle leaders meet at least monthly to share business leads, talk about potential opportunities and develop strategies to continuously move the needle forward.
- High priority on entrepreneurship. Regional leadership work with the community to create an environment thatencourages innovation and enables entrepreneurs to succeed.
- Emphasis on quality of place. Leaders and members of the Triangle community work hard to advance and tout their physical assets that make the region an attractive place to live, work, play and learn.
- Major universities and robust talent pool. Home to three tier one research universities within 30 miles of each other, the Research Triangle region offers assets, resources and a large talent pool that ensures sustainable innovation. Major research happening on campus is growing into real business opportunities in the area, too.
Rea prompts his own community of South Bend with lessons learned from his Triangle visit, “But we, too, have many wonderful assets to build upon here in our region. It’s up to us now to do what that area did to ensure future success. We must work together on a vision for this region and we must all “own” and champion the great assets available here. Our future depends upon it.”
Harvey Schmitt, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Adrienne Cole, executive director for WCED were among leadership that hosted South Bend.