Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Director of Economic Development, Bridget Gibbons address the throng of small business owners and Chamber of Commerce executives at the Little Theater at the Westchester County Center Wednesday.
WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communicatins. October 11, 2018:
For the first time ever, Westchester County, through County Executive George Latimer, brought together business owners, Chambers of Commerce and local leaders from across the County for a conversation on how to find common solutions to common challenges. Over 160 people from all over the County, including all types of businesses, non-profit organizations and representatives from 25 different chambers and business groups gathered at the Little Theater in the County Center for this hybrid informational and networking event.
Latimer said: “I’ve always thought, and I think attendance at this event proves it, that the best effort we can do is put people with like minds and like interests in the same room together, let them meet each other, network together, share information together and out of that will come new and vibrant ideas that each of us can use individually.”
Prior to the event, a survey was sent out to all the local Chambers to share with their members so that the County Executive and the Office for Economic Development could learn more about the concerns and challenges facing small business owners in Westchester.
The Wednesday event included presentations and discussions, some based on those results, with Westchester County Director of Economic Development Bridget Gibbons, Senior Business Development Director for Small Business from Empire State Development Ray Salaberrios and Assistant to the County Executive, Community Liaison Shari Rosen Ascher, who organized the event, to help attendees learn about resources and incentives available from the County and State. Also included in the event was a “speed networking” segment, which tasked attendees with stepping out of their comfort zone, switching tables at the sound of a whistle and finding new people to chat with.
Gibbons said: “At the County’s Office of Economic Development, we really want to listen to local businesses and hear what they have to say – and find out how the County can help. Small businesses are the engine of Westchester’s economy and we must embrace them for us to succeed. The CE has a philosophy of openness and transparency, which is why we are hosting this meeting today, and it’s my job to make sure small businesses feel included, valued and listened to.”
Ascher said: “Our survey received an incredible number of responses, over 200, which allowed us to find common themes and concerns among Chambers of Commerce members. From that, we were able to develop an agenda to find ways to bring all stakeholders together and make this first of its kind event a success.”