When you think of concierge services in any other industry, it’s someone who serves as a point of contact whenever you have a need. For example, if you were at a hotel and wanted to know how to get tickets to a nearby venue, the concierge could help you. The Quad Cities Chamber, through its Economic Development division Quad Cities First, offers a similar concept with its “Business Connections” visits.
The program offers one-call assistance to help businesses identify opportunities and obstacles related to company growth and to connect them with resources to help. We also look for any opportunities to help companies expand or innovate.
“Eighty percent of new jobs and capital investment in our community will come from existing businesses. We understand this fact, and work to support local companies, helping them expand and add new jobs and investment throughout the region,” said Michelle Lewis, Director of Regional Business Development for the Chamber.
“Business Connection” calls are in-person meetings with company decision-makers conducted in conjunction with city and other local economic development partners. In order to uncover growth opportunities or barriers, representatives follow a survey format of questions used by other chambers and cities across the country to guide the conversation. The team does have the ability to customize some questions based on geographic area or the company’s industry. The visits are primarily focused on our region's core industries of advanced manufacturing, food processing/ag, defense, logistics and corporate office and support services.
According to Lewis, workforce availability and development are a top concern many of our regional employers have identified recently.
“For example, if we had a company that was hiring but needed training for new workers, we could connect them with a local college as a resource to help develop programs. That’s one such way we can help.”
Other available resources include:
• Expertise available through the Critical Talent Network
• Help navigating red tape
• Market research assistance
• Incentive information
• Site location help, and more
Business Connections calls are completely free and confidential, and you don’t need to be a Chamber member to take advantage of the service. To schedule a Business Connections call, contact Michelle Lewis at email@example.com or (563) 823-2692.