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City will take closer look at business climate with the help of Pacific University students

Economic Development Commission to conduct SWOT analysis to help update business plan

New business recruitment, retention of existing businesses, and business opportunities and challenges highlighted the December meeting of the Cornelius Economic Development Commission (EDC).

“Commission members had a robust discussion about what approaches to take,” said City Manager Rob Drake. “We included targeting small- and medium-sized businesses, and focused on participating in an analysis in January that would point out our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis). It will provide valuable information, and help update the commission’s adopted business plan.”

Also discussed was the hiring of a facilitator to assist with the analysis.

Drake said that the commission will be asking such questions as: What do we have in Cornelius? How far can we go? What can we offer?

Cornelius is “open for business,” he said. “We have good infrastructure, lots of industrial property, and lots of downtown availability. I think the city has a wonderful future.”

At Drake’s request, Pacific University Associate Professor of Marketing Sheila Griffie attended the meeting to talk about using students from Pacific’s marketing department to help with the commission’s “business branding” effort.

“We won’t begin working with the city until the EDC gives us specific projects in February,” said Griffie, a longtime resident of Cornelius who has served on the city’s planning and budget committees.

“At that time, students in my upper-level advertising and promotion class will begin working with City Manager Drake and members of the EDC to devise and produce materials for the project.,” Griffie explained.

“Our goal is to have the project completed before the end of the spring semester for presentation to the EDC and the city council.”

Griffie’s classes have previously worked with Centro Cultural and Care Partners of Washington County.

“As with these organizations, it’s going to be important for us to come up with something the city can use, and that meets its needs,” she said.

Drake said the students would be working with the results of the SWOT analysis.

“The analysis will provide a solid first look at the city’s business environment and the opportunities available,” he said. “It will also give the class the information they need to work on materials and media, such as an update of the city’s website. Griffie and the students will be reporting regularly to me and the EDC.”