District 1 businesses in West Cobb were surveyed recently by a Business Walks team to assist in retaining and expanding businesses in Cobb. (Courtesy of Cobb County)

Cobb Economic Development Team surveys businesses

The bi-annual Business Walks Program recently was conducted in Cobb’s District 1 in West Cobb.

This initiative is dedicated to collecting feedback on business retention and expansion in Cobb’s business community, according to a county statement.

Participants included the Cobb County Economic Development Division, SelectCobb and representatives from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber, WorkSource Cobb, KSU’s Small Business Development Center, the cities of Acworth and Kennesaw and Georgia Power.

The coordinating committee began its efforts in South Cobb, expanding to the current Business Walks in West Cobb.

The Cobb County Economic Development Division, in partnership with SelectCobb, plans to continue the expansion of this program into North and East Cobb in 2020.

Business Walks allow economic development groups to visit up to four businesses a day per team, covering more ground than traditional retention and expansion programs.

With one-on-one interviews and facility tours, teams gather feedback from companies on key matters such as community engagement and services, opportunity for growth, workforce needs and current challenges.

The teams also use surveys with predetermined questions to quickly diagnose firms on the brink of greatness or those at risk, increase awareness of programs and services offered by local and county organizations and identify those businesses that may require further assistance, according to Cobb Economic Development Division Manager Michael Hughes.

For business owners and operators, meeting with community leadership and development groups allows their voices to be heard and ensures a prosperous business climate for the future, he added.

“This is about developing partnerships,” said District 1 Commissioner Keli Gambrill. “I’m excited to learn about these partnerships and how we can help strengthen them.”

Business Walks participants visited businesses in the cities of Acworth and Kennesaw as well as the Acworth Due West and Barrett Parkway Corridors, discussed their findings and worked together to address any pressing matters, Hughes said.

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