Small, medium, and family-owned businesses will soon have new resources available to them through the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber today announced that Julie Forsythe will lead the new Business Services division formed as part of the organizational restructure recently announced by the Chamber.
“I believe that small, medium and family-owned businesses represent the largest opportunity for economic growth in the region,” says Paul Rumler, President & CEO, Quad Cities Chamber. “The Chamber’s core focus is centered on helping area businesses grow, and in this new role Julie will work closely with members to provide them with essential resources.”
With the announcement of the new Business Services division, the Chamber will increase their business outreach and programming. This is part of the organizational restructure announced in late June.
“We’re focused on providing and connecting to services that can support our members in areas of operations, increased sales and customer relations, and the validation of business concepts,” says Forsythe. “We’re also very interested in gaining a deeper understanding of our member companies’ areas of expertise so we can more readily connect them with other organizations for additional business and collaboration opportunities.”
Forsythe has been with the Quad Cities Chamber since 2013, during which time she has worked closely with area entrepreneurs and startups. Forsythe was instrumental in developing Ignite Quad Cities, the Chamber’s initiative at developing an entrepreneurial culture in the region, and connecting early-stage businesses to available resources. Forsythe has also played an active role in the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub, connecting local small and medium manufacturing firms to growth resources.
Over the course of her career, Forsythe has had the benefit of working for a number of various-sized Chicago-based employers in the sectors of architectural design, mental health, and corporate and legal talent recruitment before owning and operating a full service floral and garden center in north Iowa. “I’ve gained great perspective in seeing how a lot of different sized organizations in various sectors operate – some better than others. The period where my husband at the time and I bought a retail shop was an entirely different experience. I know what it is to make payroll, and have the crushing responsibilities of a business owner.”
Forsythe landed back in the Quad Cities recruiting talent for area manufacturers before applying her talent matching skills to a grant-funded economic development project, the Midwest Intellectual Property Management Institute. After the proof-of-concept grant was completed, the talent asset was embedded into the Quad Cities Chamber as a technical assistance asset for business retention and expansion projects.
“My entire career seems to have been about helping people understand their circumstances, consider viable options and help them move to action. We have some great diagnostic and business stage specific programming coming our members’ way, leveraging our regional resource partners and Chamber member businesses to assist. Growing a business is a journey. People get into business because they are very skilled, talented and passionate in a particular area. But for many, especially the small and medium sized companies, one doesn’t know what they don’t know, and curve balls come up. We look to help businesses get through these crucial junctures and continually position them for the next stage of business success.”