Building a Foundation for the Next Twenty-Five Years

Posted by on March 25, 2024

Last year, the LSCP celebrated a quarter century of serving Marquette County businesses and communities as the go-to resource for economic development information and services. Over those years, one of the defining features of the LSCP was its ability to adapt to change, moving from its roots as a countywide chamber of commerce to a full-service regional economic development organization. While we celebrated the past, we were also looking to the future, including developing a new strategic plan charting the organization’s future. 

When we started those efforts, I knew things would be different this time. For one, we’re fortunate to be part of what is now one of the most robust economic development ecosystems in any rural area I’ve ever seen. Other areas envy our entrepreneurial spirit and ability to collaborate as a region. While the pieces were put into place a while ago, the resulting network is now operating at full steam and maximizing our capacity as a team.  

Initially, I assumed that would allow the LSCP to narrow its focus in our next strategic plan. However, as conversations unfolded, we discovered the LSCP’s strength continued to lie in its ability to be nimble and adaptive. We fill the role of a generalist in the ecosystem, offering a wide variety of services and building an expansive network to be the most open and accessible door for our businesses and communities to determine their next steps for additional investment. We also reaffirmed the largest pitfall to such an approach: confusion over exactly what the LSCP does. 

To address that, you’ll start to hear us talking about the LSCP’s services differently, moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to a divisional model that better coordinates services based on audiences with related needs, interests, and resources. With this in mind, you’ll begin to see us using three terms: 

  • Business Network: These include services to elevate the business experience, from networking and promotion to business resources. Many of these services are traditionally associated with chamber-style organizations. 
  • Economic Alliance: More traditional economic development efforts with longer-term horizons and payoff. This includes site selection, business retention and expansion, community development, critical issues like housing and air service, data services, etc. The LSCP has invested heavily in this direction over the past decade. 
  • Professional Services: Contracted services, such as backend support services for other economic development organizations, special projects, etc. 

In addition to the programmatic divisions, the LSCP will continue to focus on connecting and informing our members and the community to address economic development issues. Most of that work will be done through events and programs like our Breakfast and Business series, Lake Superior Leadership Academy, Annual Dinner, and more. In the next two years, you’ll see additional opportunities emerge. 

This new structure will allow our team to continually adapt and tailor services to meet the wide variety of Partners we are so fortunate to have. And while it’s the biggest change in terms of structure, it’s just one part of the strategic plan you’ll see us focused on implementing over the next three years. We’ll make additional investments to connect our members, enhance our services, and find new resources to support our businesses and communities. From helping our existing businesses expand and our local communities enhance quality of life to keeping our voice strong in Lansing and elevating our Partner businesses’ profiles, you’re only seeing the beginning of what’s to come. It’s all made possible by our current Partners and, we hope, by many new Partners to come.