Venango County Economic Development Update

Collaboration the Key to Economic Development

A Google search of what economic development means is likely to set your head spinning. Search results suggest that economic development is often defined by others based on what it is trying to accomplish. A general explanation is that economic development is to improve our standard of living through the creation of jobs, the support of innovation and new ideas, the creation of higher wealth, and the creation of an overall better quality of life.

Whose responsibility is economic development? A quick reply may be “everybody’s”, but the reality is that it is shared by many organizations, who have the knowledge, tools, and influence to have positive impact on the community. It is unlikely that there has been or ever will be one organization who can do it all, so the most progress will be made by those who find ways to collaborate, sharing information and resources to maximize time and funding.

John Phillips, President of the Oil Region Alliance, confirms that this is indeed the only way that adequate attention can be given to the many projects that exist across Venango County and the Oil Region.

John remarks “The Oil Region Alliance is a Rural Development Hub Organization and building these partnerships is its purpose, with the philosophy that no one entity, organization, or municipal government can single handedly change the economics of an area.”

“Working with our partners at the County, the Chambers, Northwest Commission, FICDA and others in adjacent counties is critical to addressing current and future success for our businesses,” he added. “Everyone has a full plate of projects but when we make it a priority to meet and share information, we often find overlap or gaps that we could not have known of otherwise.”

He continued: “Over the past 20 months, local leadership has been very intentional in meeting, often via Zoom, and when possible, in person. Together, we have been very successful in addressing pressing needs and now see many opportunities for new collaboration.”

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s November 2021 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

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