BOISE — At Idaho Business Review’s ongoing Breakfast Series event Thursday, a panel of experts said the state faces a number of challenges, including a worker shortage, in order to keep business local in Idaho.
The event, attended by more than 85 people at The Grove Hotel in Boise, featured four panelists – Carrie Westergard, Jennifer Mauk, Sheri Johnson, and Sam Bailey – who discussed why it is important to keep business local and what the local economy will look like in the future.
Moderator Thomas J. Mortell, co-managing partner with event-presenting sponsor Hawley Troxell led the discussion. Here are some of the highlights:
Mortell: What recommendations do you have for local businesses to help our visitors have local experience when they come back?
Westergard: Businesses should connect with their local chamber; If you have experiences that are unique, and a lot of farm-to-table dining experiences, anything that has to do with coming to the area, just go to your local organization that can kind of help get that word out.
Mortell: What are some of the obstacles Idaho faces in keeping it local?
Johnson: “The problem is we don’t have a workforce, and one of the things that I’ve been passionate about, is that we have to be a partner in our own workforce training; we can’t wait for government education to do it for us. That’s one of the big areas that we’re investing in–we’re going to continue our efforts to promote all things Idaho and to just keep the business here and grow the business here.”
Mortell: What does keeping it local look like in the future? What can Idaho do today to stay as strong as possible?
Mauk: We’re going to continue to help companies establish their company, get their resources in line and then hopefully grow and sustain and scale and connect them to the community so that they are successful. We have our directory–that is statewide–of locally owned businesses. Look for the “Buy Idaho” logo, that’s how you know you’re shopping local, and support those businesses.
Mortell: What from your perspective, can Idaho do better to benefit our local businesses on a global stage?
Bailey: The greatest threat during any economy right now is public policy, public policy that discriminates against people, against businesses. That is the greatest threat to economic development and small businesses, and being able to attract talent. So if you’re not talking to your legislature, you should, if you’re not talking to your city council member, you should.
Keep an eye out for the next Idaho Business Review Breakfast Series event focused on transportation in Idaho on June 6.