I-94 West CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

 “Growing your business is our business”

I94 West Chamber of Commerce 21370 John Milless Drive PO Box 95 Rogers, MN 55374 Phone: 763-428-2921

As the New Year has begun in earnest, businesses in our region have settled in, working to build and promote their businesses. Businesses that are healthy, growing and vibrant bring jobs and economic development. That’s the fuel that builds local communities.

The I-94 West Chamber is a business organization of 500 members who share common goals. In fact, the tag line of our organization is “Growing Your Business is our Business!”

Here are four areas that we can focus on to best serve our members and business community:

Let’s develop the best talent — Minnesota has respected schools, but the way we measure student success needs to evolve so we know students are keeping pace with their peers in other states and globally. Think technology, a broader world view and using our resources in a smarter way. Today’s students will not be prepared for tomorrow’s jobs using yesterday’s classrooms.

Innovate — It’s simple — let’s be entrepreneurial. Minnesota is known for innovative government solutions and world-leading companies of all sizes. We should use these assets to cast a new model of government service delivery around the values and priorities of our citizens.

Costs must be competitive — Whether it’s energy, health care or taxes, Minnesota employers make hiring decisions based on the costs of doing business. When these costs are burdensome or unpredictable, businesses become cautious, less likely to invest in new employees and projects.

Fairer Rules, Fewer Delays — Minnesota business owners play by the rules, but the rules have not kept up with our expectations for growth and have hindered our ability to compete. It’s time to use technology to simplify permitting and regulatory review. Our legal system is out of line with other states. When employers are free from outdated barriers, following the rules will be easier, and they will invest more in new ideas, industries and jobs.

These are smart ideas, ideas for growth. As the year moves along we will continue to advocate on progress in these areas. As a member of the I-94 West Chamber, you will know we are working each day to build a business community that allows you to do what you do best — Build Your Business! If you would like more information on the I-94 West Chamber and the many benefits our members receive, please contact me at rbaack@i-94westchamber.org. Here at the Chamber we believe “Growing your Business is our Business!”

Have you ever sat in traffic on I-94 West?  Ever seen an accident where the ambulance struggles to get through the traffic?  Ever wonder how long of a delay you’ll face heading west to your cabin, up north to the Brainerd Lakes area or even just arriving home safely on a Friday afternoon during the summer?  Ever wonder if anyone cares?  The answer?  WE DO, The I-94 WEST CORRIDOR COALITION CARES!!

The Coalition began three years ago and has been steadily growing and working to bring awareness on local, state, and federal levels that the current transportation system in our region is not going to be able to sustain the economic growth we will see in the next five years, ten years, and beyond.

The Coalition is in the process of defining the region’s transportation system and planning a campaign to fully engage the businesses and residents of our region in this Coalition and set the stage for success down the road for transportation in our region. As we seek federal funding transportation funds in excess of $350 million dollars it will require participation from the business communities, the cities and the residents of our region. The Coalition is currently developing a comprehensive long term plan which will assist all our communities as they work to encourage economic development and where people and products are moved safely and efficiently throughout our region. We believe a full scope of planning, marketing and using the resources we have can help us build on the success the Coalition has had to date.

Our long-range goal is to increase the lanes from Maple Grove to Monticello. We are looking for federal transportation funding in excess of $350 million and that number grows each year. Now, we are not alone; throughout the United States there are thousands of highway coalitions and projects which need to be completed. How we can stand out in the fight for federal funds for this national transportation artery that moves people and products efficiently and safely throughout our region? We believe it is through awareness, social media, talk at the grocery stores, the hardware store, engaging the citizens and businesses of our region.

The Coalition is working to develop a campaign which reaches everyone in our community and by bringing awareness to the fact that when it involves a massive initiative of this proportion it will take an army of all, not an army of some. Join with us, visit our website at www.i94coalition.com, or contact rbaack@i94westchamber.org to see how you can get involved.

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