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Thrive: Launches Advance Now Strategy at Community Leadership Summit on April 25

Contact: Betsy Lundgren

Thrive, the economic development partnership for the eight-county Madison Region, announces the launch of the Advance Now Strategy, a comprehensive, action-oriented economic development plan that will serve as the region’s consensus blueprint for driving economic growth over the next five years.

Thrive will unveil the Advance Now Strategy at a Community Leadership Summit on Wednesday, April 25 from 3-5pm at the Sheraton Madison Hotel (706 John Nolen Drive, Madison). Leading economic development strategist Mac Holladay will join members of the Advance Now Strategy Committee to share the goals, objectives, and actions that will shape our region’s future. Paired with a detailed implementation plan that includes such metrics as per capita income, educational attainment, and number of business establishments, the Advance Now Strategy promises to move the Madison Region forward with a shared vision for economic growth.

“The development of the Advance Now Strategy is only the beginning. The real work starts now,” notes Mr. Holladay, President & CEO of the Atlanta-based economic development consulting firm Market Street Services. “The Madison Region is poised for positive development and job creation, but it will require the commitment and collaboration of leaders from both the public and private sectors. The future of this region relies on the aggressive and continued implementation of this strategy over years to come.”

The Strategy will outline specific steps to move the Madison Region forward in five key goal areas:

· Advance Economic Competitiveness

· Advance Human Capital

· Advance Innovation and Entrepreneurship

· Advance the Madison Region’s Story

· Advance Regional Cooperation, Leadership, and Diversity

This visionary game plan is built upon eight months of research (including a Competitive Assessment, Target Cluster Analysis, and Marketing Review), public- and private-sector participation, and input from 2,000+ citizens.

“Advance Now marks the largest comprehensive economic development initiative yet undertaken in the Madison Region,” says Jenn Post Tyler, Interim Executive Vice President of Thrive. “This strategy positions the Madison Region to reverse negative trends in our rate of business growth and job creation. Thrive looks forward to collaborating with implementation partners across the Madison Region to carry this strategy forward and enact real change for our region’s economy.”

The Advance Now Strategy will also position the Madison Region to charter an Economic Development District designation with the federal Economic Development Administration, opening much needed funding opportunities. The public may register for the April 25 Community Leadership Summit at advancenow.thrivehere.org. Members of the press are also asked to register in advance by contacting Betsy Lundgren at blundgren@thrivehere.org or 608.443.1961.

The development process for Advance Now involves two research phases and two action phases, resulting in a holistic, transformational economic development strategy that builds on the Madison Region’s specific assets, and a tangible implementation plan that will guide strategic efforts and outcomes. Advance Now will unite fragmented economic development efforts with a comprehensive action-oriented blueprint that will enable the Madison Region to compete on a larger scale in today’s global marketplace.

The Advance Now Development Process
Phase I) Competitive Assessment: Analyzes the region's position in the economy (Sept-Oct 2011)
Phase 2) Target Cluster Analysis: Identifies existing and emerging targets to pursue (Nov-Dec 2011)
Phase 3) Core Strategies: Combines research with action items (Jan-Feb 2012)
Phase 4) Implementation Plan: Includes capacity assessments, measurement tools, and action plans (Mar-Apr 2012)

The Implementation Plan covers the years 2013-2017.

Thrive is partnering with the Atlanta-based economic development consulting firm Market Street Services, led by founder and CEO J. Mac Holladay, to develop Advance Now. The entire process is overseen by a 24-member Strategy Committee of public- and private-sector leaders and elected officials, and a 15-member Technical Workgroup of regional economic development professionals.

More information about Advance Now, including downloads of all the research and reports released to date, are available at advancenow.thrivehere.org. Support for Advance Now is provided by American Family Insurance, Madison Gas & Electric, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Thrive is the economic development partnership for the eight-county Madison Region, established to grow the region's economy in ways that preserve and enhance quality of life. We are committed to providing businesses and communities with efficient access to capital; growing the industries and sectors that comprise our region’s greatest assets; informing smart decision-making by delivering valuable research and data; and collaborating across communities to share best practices and promote our region. The Madison Region includes Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk counties.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Market Street Services, Inc. was founded in 1997 as an alternative to the traditional community and economic development consulting firm. The company’s experience and perspective is firmly rooted in the knowledge gained from being practitioners in the field, rather than looking “from the outside in.” The firm’s founder and CEO, J. Mac Holladay has more than 30 years of experience in community and economic development, both as a Chamber professional and as state economic development director. Market Street’s staff has worked with clients throughout the country to not only devise measurable, achievable strategies, but also have first-hand experience in clarifying what is needed from an organizational standpoint to successfully implement those strategies.

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