Chamber to explore next steps for Innovation Gainesville


In this Feb. 24, 2011 file photo, local business leaders listen to facilitator Debbie Mason during the first Innovation Gainesville Summit.

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Published: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 2:43 p.m.

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce is holding its “iG What's Next?” Regional Economic Forum on Thursday to explore new opportunities as it starts the process of updating its Innovation Gainesville economic development plan.

The event part will be held from 8-11 a.m. Thursday at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd St. Tickets are $20 and are available at GainesvilleChamber.com/iGForum2013.

The keynote speaker will be economist Rebecca Ryan, author of “ReGeneration: A Manifesto for America's Next Leaders” and “Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation.” Her Next Generation Consulting based in Madison, Wis., helps clients with strategies to recruit and retain young professionals.

Amy Holloway, president of Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas, also will discuss Avalanche's findings from research and more than 100 interviews about the local economy over the past six months.

Chamber President and CEO Tim Giuliani said the forum will lay out the big themes of emerging opportunities as a starting point for the hundreds of volunteers involved in the Innovation Gainesville initiative to design the next phase.

For example, he said the Chamber plans more meetings with University of Florida officials about business opportunities in health sciences and food and agricultural sciences.

Some of the themes to emerge from a May 28 event held by the Chamber and Community Redevelopment Agency were the needs for economic opportunities for people at all education levels and the role education should play to fill the skills gap between workers and available jobs, he said.

“What we're really shooting for is for some of these themes and commonalities and trends to emerge from a grassroots level,” Giuliani said. “We want themes to emerge from different parts of the community so it reflects the collective interest of the community.”

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