It’s often easy to overlook the amount of work and importance that goes into economic development. While it’s a topic that is not always popular or attention catching, it is one that is essential when it comes to the success and preservation of state and local business prosperity.
The Northwest Indiana Forum understands this, and has made it their mission to be the regional voice for the business community as well as being a source of information and services that aim to help businesses investing in Indiana.
“We are always working to bring modifications to the attitude of business from both sides in Northwest Indiana, “ says Marketing Director Raeann Trakas. “We understand that the business climate can be difficult and we want to be the ones who can help you navigate that climate.”
One of the principal tasks of the Forum is the promotion of business investment and the creation of jobs, two components that according to President and CEO Heather Ennis are essential for the stability of this or any region’s economy.
“We are always trying to bring more jobs and keep the economy strong,” says Ennis. “We want people to know that this is something that we truly care about and want to see succeeding in the region. It means in the end, that everyone will feel the benefits.”
The NWI Forum also keeps track on maintaining a good and consistent quality of life for everyone living in Indiana. In order to ensure this, the NWI Forum also maintains areas that extend outside the business environment including living costs and tax policies.
“We do so much that reaches to everyone in the region,” says Trakas. “We want them to know that everyone has a voice, from small businesses to citizens who desire a strong region."
Along with the staff, the NWI Forum consists of regional partners who support the forum’s goal of sustainable business development and the creation of jobs. These partners such as the Regional Development Authority, Regional Development Authority and Indiana Economic Development Corporation understand the importance of this mission and are frequent contributors to the forum.
“These organizations understand that in order for our region to remain strong, we need that support from these organizations to raise awareness of exactly what each of us are doing to keep it strong as well as bring in new partners and let them see all that we and NWI have to offer,” says Trakas.
“There are also benefits that come with membership,” says Ennis. “There are opportunities for networking and other special events with a recent example being our Women in Economic Development happening in October. Along with this, you can have access to elected officials and administration officials who are just as concerned about Northwest Indiana.”
“This is a great region to support,” says Trakas. “We have a beautiful lakefront with the Michigan City shoreline as well as being close to Chicago and Michigan.”
The NWI Forum is always working to keep the region strong. Their efforts and plans are felt by more than just businesses, more than just entrepreneurs, but anyone who wants the NWI region to have a quality of life. People want good jobs, strong and safe communities, and that is what the forum continues to strive for on a daily basis.
“There are enough structure and resources to be on the same level as major cities, so we cannot afford to have that small town mentality,” says Trakas. “We all need to work together, we’re not competing against one another because we all want the same thing, we want that success and sustainability.”