The 2019 State of the County Address saw the debut of a new entity: Forward Forsyth. Forward Forsyth is a partnership of the Forsyth County Government, the Chamber of Commerce, the Development Authority, the Forsyth County School System and Forsyth County’s higher education institutions.
Forward Forsyth serves as the driving force behind Forsyth County’s strategic economic development plan produced in 2018 by national consultants. The plan identified target industries: e-commerce, data services, technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing, to name a few. It also promoted action items like development of commercial product in north Forsyth County, mixed-use developments, efficient regulatory processes, and other items.
The Forward Forsyth Steering Committee meets once a month to discuss strategy and track progress on the items listed in this plan. The group held a specially called meeting on April 9, 2020 for an intentional purpose. The discussion at this session was focused on economic recovery rather than economic development. The mindset of the partnership is that what economic development looks like right now is ensuring the success of the county’s current commercial investors during this time of health and economic crisis. The group agreed to adopt an interim plan with initiatives that focus on economic recovery. The plan includes:
· Connecting businesses to operating capital by promoting resources of the CARES Act, hosting virtual seminars and tutorials on how to apply for CARES Act support and how to obtain private working capital – primarily from banks and by promoting local restaurants and retail operations that are still open and providing resources for consumers
· Connecting unemployed workers to employers by identifying and promoting employers seeking employees, populating online resources for the unemployed and hosting virtual seminars on how to best use GADOL resources
· Providing support to specific industry sectors by hosting topic-focused, expert-led Virtual Meetings for the Forsyth Tech Executives Group, Forsyth County’s Manufacturing Society, Forsyth County’s Commercial Real Estate Council, international businesses in Forsyth County and Forsyth County’s Healthcare Association and conducting Virtual “Existing Industry Visits” with the businesses included in these groups
· Collecting data from local businesses via online surveys and daily phone calls engaging business owners and executing survey questions
These efforts will be housed under the Together4FOCO brand. On Monday, March 16, 2020, the Forsyth County Chamber launched Together4FOCO to engage the Forsyth County community and facilitate connections between businesses and residents during this challenging time. Visit www.Together4FOCO.com to learn more about these economic recovery efforts and how you can engage in Forsyth County’s economic recovery plan.