RETHINKING MEPI ECONOMIC PARTNERS
Madison Economic Partners has reviewed its history, its role in the community as a champion of economic development, and has determined that it is time to execute a pivot. MEPI’s mission will continue to “encourage business growth and expansion in Madison County” through “desirable business expansion, retention and attraction and in working as partners to develop a climate conducive to maintaining our quality of life.” What will be changing is where and how MEPI will be directing its efforts.
Several key pieces have been put into place since 2010 that has prompted this pivot. First, the elimination of an employed Executive Director in 2010 allowed MEPI to devote 100% of its budget to economic development efforts. MEPI’s close relationship with the City of Rexburg, and the City of Rexburg’s creation of its own Department of Economic Development has created a closer alignment with Madison County and City of Rexburg development priorities. In addition, having an Executive Director who is also an employee of the principle municipality has allowed economic development concerns and priorities to be represented and championed by local government, which has made it easier for business as they interact with government.
Second, MEPI has led the way in two highly successful long-range community planning efforts: Envision Madison and the Broadband Study. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders, MEPI was able to provide the leadership in two highly critical efforts who’s plans continue to affect the landscape of Madison County.
Third, over the past eight years MEPI has developed a successful “Business Eco-System” focused on encouraging and recognizing local entrepreneurship through the Startup Weekend platform and the Rexburg Business Competition. Together these events have awarded over $80,000 to local entrepreneurs; and have helped raise several hundred thousand dollars in local venture capital to business which came out of these efforts.
Fourth, the new partnership between the City of Rexburg and the Research and Business Development- Center has created a unique opportunity to provide a true business incubation and accelerator space.
Together, these economic development puzzle pieces have laid the groundwork to create a true Culture of Entrepreneurship, with the tools to help entrepreneurs succeed.