As part of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council’s ongoing strategic plan, the Rockforward! Leadership Council manages the Emerging Opportunities Fund (EOF). The Emerging Opportunities Fund is designed for discretionary investment in mutually agreed-upon, forward-thinking initiatives that will leverage positive change for economic development of the Rockford Region. The fund has invested approximately $1.3 Million back into our community since its inception in 2008. Many of the initiatives related to education, green-energy and marketing-recruiting efforts.
This year the Leadership Council saw value in a collaborative investment project that would focus on the community’s “Googleability”. Think of it this way, when someone Googles Rockford, IL, less than ideal criteria shows up in the results. This community can no longer sit back and accept what others are saying or the dated data that populates these searches. There is a way to put forth up-to-date information as it relates to the current momentum and wins we have seen over the past few years, doing so collaboratively and strategically for growth. The conversation is changing in our community; let’s make sure we also represent that on search engines so those who want to know more about us have a relevant picture.
The project was proposed by and will be managed by the Rockford Area Convention & Visitor Bureau (RACVB) and will partner with the RAEDC, other organizations and individuals to encompass specific items such as; Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Paid Search/Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Online Retargeting, Social Media Marketing, Media Outreach/Focused PR, and Influencer Education/Awareness to name a few. To read the press release from May, go to RockfordIL.com .
This project will work with connecting many websites and outreach of organizations that represent/sell our region. Not an easy task, but possible. Other communities have done similar projects, it’s time we focus our concerted online efforts collaboratively to grow tourism activities even more and increase our ability to recruit more investments and jobs to our region. This proactive approach also means helping our employers and their human resource departments for recruiting. The long term goal through this effort will be to increase the Rockford Region’s awareness as an Opportunity City where people want to live, work, play, and invest.
By Jimsi Kuborn, VP of Investor Relations
Previously included in the September 2016 edition of The Voice.