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Ecodev: mayor's lunches and economic gardening

Retention and expansion of local companies is one of the most important objectives in economic development.

Statistically, about 75% of all the new jobs in a community are created by local businesses. In Richardson, REDP uses a three‐legged approach to retention: an annual online survey, 1‐on‐1 visitations (replaced in recent times by Zoom calls) and monthly mayor’s lunches (also replaced temporarily by Zoom calls). The later program is an effort to acquaint the local company not only with local resources and opportunities but also to build relationships between the company’s decision makers and city and chamber leadership.
Companies targeted for mayor’s lunches are large employers, fast‐growth companies and newcomers.

Typically, only one or two companies are invited to each lunch. So far in 2021, REDP has hosted newcomer Debt Blue (financial services), Viyu (IT services), Motorola (newcomer) and has upcoming meetings with ETC (toll road management), Honeywell (tech manufacturing) and People Fun (mobile phone games).
Economic gardening is also underway in 2021, and once again the REDP is covering all the cost of giving small- and medium-sized companies some of the best customized insights found anywhere on how they can grow their business. Board member Alicia Makaye, the owner of a small business herself, is assisting the REDP make Richardson companies aware of this terrific resource.

To better understand the program, Alicia is taking her IT 
services business GXA through the economic gardening process. The REDP has the budget for three more economic gardening assignments for the rest of the year, so if you are, or you know, a company that has between 10 and 100 employees, $1 million to $50 million in revenues and has a desire to grow, contact Alicia or the REDP.

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