Chamber of Commerce to Lead Economic Development

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Plans are in the works for a whole new way to handle economic development in the town of Hopkinton and the Chamber of Commerce will lead the way in a newly formed partnership with the Town Manager’s Office and the Board of Selectmen.

“We want to work hand in hand with the Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager to create a marketing plan for the town,” said Chamber Executive Director Tim Kilduff. “We’d like to be the point person and we can start immediately and have an impact.”

Kilduff and Chamber President Bob McGuire presented their preliminary plans at the January 11th meeting of the Board of Selectmen, following up on a proposal made in November 2010 by Town Manager Norman Khumalo to refocus economic development by partnering with the Chamber. McGuire and Kilduff, together, talked about the Chamber’s mission; to help Hopkinton businesses succeed, and how the Chamber strives to do that by providing leadership and support through active participation.

The two talked about the history of the Chamber and the services offered to its current members such as representing local business interests by linking with regional business organizations, connecting to public officials and speaking at important business meetings. The Chamber also provides opportunities for networking through community events and regular gatherings. Achievements of local businesses are promoted through press relations and through the Chamber of Commerce website www.hopchamber.com. With the website and news letters, press relations and other communications, the Chamber is the voice of Hopkinton business.

In partnership with the town, the Chamber has set “achievable” priorities for 2011. The Chamber will now also be the voice of Hopkinton in business matters, and attempt to get people in Hopkinton to do business in Hopkinton. Chamber member Chuck Joseph of RE/MAX Executive Realty coined a phrase for this effort; “Hopkinton Refers Hopkinton.”

According to Kilduff, the goal is to strengthen and expand Hopkinton’s economic base through collaboration with the Selectmen through the Town Manager, to assist in the creation of appropriate marketing materials and support existing businesses interested in expanding in Hopkinton.
Endorsements for the new partnership came from all board members.

“I think it is wholly appropriate,” said Ben Palleiko. “I am particularly interested in expanding our outreach to new business.”

“Hopkinton’s Chamber is professional beyond its footprint,” said Chairman RJ Dourney. “I appreciate the voice that you all are.”

“It’s a great direction, I’m excited about this,” said John Mosher.

“I look forward to working together and working out all the details,” said Michelle Gates.

And the details will be next. Both Kilduff and McGuire will be back at the next meeting of the board on Tuesday, January 25 to outline their suggested next steps. They plan to present specific objectives to be completed within the next 90 days, including recruiting a volunteer communications team, analyzing the effectiveness of other area communities, conducting a needs analysis of existing local businesses, creating a Hopkinton economic profile and description and the delivery of marketing materials.