Monday, December 15, 2014

Commerce Department Director Jeff Sayer to speak Thursday in Idaho Falls

Jeff Sayer
Jeff Sayer, Idaho’s Commerce Department director, will be in Idaho Falls Thursday morning to talk about the state’s Accelerate Idaho initiative.

Sponsored by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, the breakfast meeting will be at 7:30 a.m. at Catered Your Way, 2161 E. 17th Street. Cost is $10. Reservations can be made by emailing ceo@idahofallschamber.com.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the “Accelerate Idaho” initiative in May, describing it as a statewide effort to engage local communities and private industry. It came on the heels of Project 60, a 2009 initiative to expand Idaho’s gross domestic product to at least $60 billion. Idaho’s total economic activity achieved that goal in the last quarter of 2013, and was forecast to reach $62 billion this year.

“Accelerate Idaho is our strategy for ensuring that Idaho is the right place for employers looking to expand or relocate. The goal is more career opportunities for Idahoans,” Otter said in May. It has three points:

• Advancing Individuals by engineering talent pipelines, cultivating K-though-career education, and expanding high quality jobs.
• Elevating existing industries, empowering business opportunities and invigorating innovation and research
• Strengthening communities by inspiring community vitality, developing infrastructure solutions and encouraging regional collaboration.

Sayer, who left Idaho Falls in 2011 to take the Commerce Director job, will talk about Accelerate Idaho’s Rapid Response Team composed of representatives from nine state agencies that are often directly involved in business expansion projects. One of Idaho’s greatest assets is its ability to remove red tape and “move at the speed of business,” and the Rapid Response Team is intended to accelerate customer service through a formalized partnership that responds to business needs quickly and efficiently.

Another important tool that is “Bluebird,” a new application designed for site selectors, commercial realtors and economic development professionals, intended to streamline the sharing of information about such things as incentives, grants and business cost comparisons. With Bluebird, businesses, entrepreneurs and investors can access a secure Web platform containing a library of economic development materials to aid in site selection decisions.

Here is a YouTube video about Accelerate Idaho from earlier this year: