For the past four months Mad River Valley Planning District and Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce have engaged in a collaborative effort to utilize the findings of the June 6, 2014, MRV Economic Summit as the foundation for a comprehensive economic plan focused on sustainability and vitality for the Mad River Valley economy.
Representatives from the two organizations are developing a series of instructional workshops focused on six leading segments of the Mad River Valley economy:
- Professional Services
- Agriculture – including food systems
- Arts & Entertainment
- Tourism/Recreation – including restaurants, lodging and recreation
These sessions, planned for early winter and summer 2015, will provide an opportunity for stakeholders from each category to examine their segment's strengths and weaknesses as well as identify opportunities to increase their sustainability and resilience. Further, participants will learn a variety of tools centered on increasing business vitality for both their business and The Valley economy as a whole: social media, web analytics, calendaring, whole systems thinking and business metrics, including leading/lagging indicators.
"This is another step toward bringing the businesses together to train and collaborate on strengthening The Valley's economy. If we learn more about how we are all part of a community system, we can improve the quality of life for locals and enhance the visitor experience," said Lisa Davis, marketing coordinator and interim manager of the chamber.
The June 16, 2014, MRV Economic Summit revealed that the integration of all of these segments was the underlining strength of The Valley economy. The Mad River Valley Economy: Vision + Vitality Workshop Series will explore this integration and identify opportunities across the economy. Two expected outcomes from this process are a Mad River Valley Economic Dashboard and the development of a conceptual Mad River Valley Economic Plan for presentation to the community at a second Mad River Valley Economic Summit, planned for October 2016.
The first set of workshops will begin in January 2015, focusing on the Mad River Valley community calendar and whole systems thinking. Like the June 6 Mad River Valley Economic Summit, these sessions are free and open to everyone in the community. The planning district and the chamber are seeking broad and interested participation.