ChamberRVA’s InterCity Visits continue to break ground when it comes to creating an environment where the Richmond region’s leaders can engage in meaningful dialogue and generate innovative ideas from peer cities that are open to sharing their successes and failures with us.
Get Ready for our 2023 InterCity Visit to Kansas City!
Tuesday, May 2 – Thursday, May 4, 2023
Kansas City is on the rise, and it will surprise and delight you. They boast a thriving business community, a growing downtown, and healthy regional cooperation. KC mirrors RVA in many ways: river cities, similar population size, presence of higher education, and an engaged business community.
In recent news, they have been named a top 10 city for launching a business, a top 10 city for net migration gains, the 8th hottest job market in the US, and adding the 3rd highest percentage of tech jobs anywhere in the US. They were one of the wettest cities during prohibition, and they relish their traditions of jazz music and barbeque.
InterCity Visit Takeaways Since 2010
In May 2022, ChamberRVA brought a delegation of approximately 175 businesses and community leaders to Columbus, OH to explore the challenges and successes of their region.
The agenda provided attendees the opportunity to dig into the dual issues of economic growth and economic mobility and discover how Columbus created a runway for continued success without losing its connection to the sense of community it has long embraced.
- The Columbus Way – a model of radical collaboration between government, nonprofits and business to build a solid economic development track record
- Shaping a new narrative – how can history, values and shared aspirations for the region create pathways for change
- Components of a vital community – common principles that shape the stories we tell and the decisions we make
- Regional Blueprint for Action – shared regional vision and framework supported by data
- Affordable Housing as infrastructure – ensure communities and neighborhoods are diverse, flexible, connected and socially vital
In October 2021, ChamberRVA brought a delegation of approximately 175 business and community leaders to Charlotte, NC from October 5 – 7, 2021 to explore the challenges and successes of their region.
The agenda explored the dual issues of economic growth and economic mobility. On economic growth, this year’s delegation learned about Charlotte’s strategies related to talent attraction, placemaking, economic development, regional planning, branding and entrepreneurship. On economic mobility, they learned about the impact of Raj Chetty’s Equality of Opportunity study and Charlotte’s resulting “Leading on Opportunity” initiative. Specifically, how they’re addressing key determinants of economic mobility like early childcare and education, college and career readiness, and child and family stability, while simultaneously focusing on the cross-cutting factors of segregation and social capital. As always, the focus was on how the private sector – in collaboration with nonprofit and government partners – is working to advance solutions.
- Responding to a “defining moment” – how do we embrace our moment to stand for something different than our history?
- Understanding what we have before we identify what we need
- Changing the conversation – for ourselves and as we communicate with others
- Being focused on what matters most – data shows that child and family (housing) stability, early childcare/education and college/career readiness are the pathways that lead to the greatest economic opportunity
- Corporate leadership – community service is as much a part of our role as our role within our organizations
- Consensus building – asking ourselves, “can we live with it?” in an effort to more quickly build consensus and make progress
- Collective action – leaders can create a framework for action to coalesce around a set of goals that the entire community can accomplish together
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the 2019 InterCity Visit to Salt Lake City was a “yes” mindset. We heard from SLC’s leaders in business, government, nonprofits and education about how they first come to the table together saying “yes,” then figure out what the right questions are. This regional collaboration has been used to get big things done in SLC, from the 2002 Winter Olympics (and upcoming 2030 bid) to a major mixed-use downtown redevelopment at City Creek Center.
Other takeaways from Salt Lake City include the importance of investing in sports tourism to propel the regional economy – and in year-round cultural attractions and festivals to keep tourism dollars flowing amid traditional seasonal dips. ChamberRVA is also reexamining and evolving our ChamberWomen programming after learning more about the Women’s Leadership Institute in Salt Lake City. From HYPE Women programming for young professionals up to our executive women’s programming, we aim to elevate professional women at every point in their careers and mobilize them in support of a greater Richmond community.
In Minneapolis–St. Paul, we learned about how the city’s downtown development – neatly interwoven with its three stadiums, a light rail system, the Skyway System, and many business towers – drives new business, culture, sports, education and housing solutions. We explored the role of philanthropy in the city’s development, as well as the growth of advanced manufacturing in the region. We also took a deep dive into the history of the U.S. Bank Stadium project, a new $1 billion, 66,000-seat stadium right in downtown. And we checked out the riverfront and got a taste of the region’s diverse food, arts and culture scenes.
During our second trip to Pittsburgh (the first was in 2002), we saw how Pittsburgh has continued its transformation and why it’s now known as an innovative and culturally vibrant region. Our agenda highlighted Pittsburgh’s innovation and entrepreneurism efforts, workforce preparedness and neighborhood development strategies, riverfront development efforts, and nationally recognized arts and food scenes.
In San Diego, we heard about the intersection of regional collaboration and transportation – on display with their new free downtown circulator system. We also learned about the San Diego Housing Commission deal with HUD and their voucher program. Back in RVA, the Junior Achievement Finance Park was built in Henrico at the Libbie Mill Library. The InterCity Visit also galvanized support of CodeVA and encouraged continued emphasis on the commercialization of ideas generated by local universities.
Thanks to an in-depth look at Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center “The EC,” ChamberRVA unveiled Thrive, the revamped Small Business Development Center. Similar to The EC’s mentor-based model, Thrive is a one-stop shop offering assistance to individuals and small business owners by providing a wide variety of information, one-on-one guidance and education.
Participants also learned how collaboration between the business community and the Metro Nashville Public Schools led to a transformational learning model known as “Academies” which enable students to learn through the lens of a career or academic theme. The Richmond Public School system is working with RVA’s business community to launch an Academies model to better prepare students for life after high school.
In addition to a tour of its cargo operations, ship yard facility and cruise ship docks, ICV participants learned that the Port of Tampa is the largest economic development engine in Central Florida, creating over $15 billion in annual economic impact. Similarly, the Port of Virginia, which includes the Richmond Marine Terminal, is one of Virginia’s greatest assets. In February 2016, ChamberRVA created the Chamber Task Force to identify economic development and workforce preparation opportunities related to increased traffic in and out of Richmond Marine Terminal.
After touring Galvanize, Denver’s co-working space, Whitestone Partners, along with other business partners opened Gather, a co-working space with locations in downtown RVA and Scott’s Addition. Gather offers collaborative space where startups, entrepreneurs, work from home professionals and small businesses can work, meet and create.
ICV participants peddled their way around Denver’s bike-friendly streets. With a goal of making RVA a more bike-friendly community, Sports Backers launched Bike Walk RVA, a program that advocates for comfortable and connected places to bike and walk for people of all ages and abilities. Richmonders can look forward to cruising the streets of RVA thanks to the city’s new bike share program, the “B.”
The Mile High City’s oldest and most historic block, Larimer Square, inspired ideas on how to embrace RVA’s downtown businesses, independent shops, restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Venture Richmond and the Shockoe Design District are working on a plan to include Larimer Square’s signature canopy of lights over Virginia Street.
After exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile, 16 historic site walking trail, ChamberRVA partnered with the City of Richmond, Richmond Region Tourism, and The Valentine to create Richmond’s first ever Liberty Trail. Recognizing the importance of developing and marketing Richmond’s 400-year history, the Liberty Trail is 6.2 miles of blue compasses that connect historic sites, attractions and neighborhoods, including 15 national historic landmarks.
The Boston Indicators Project showed attendees the value of identifying consistent, community-wide priorities and using long-term data to measure the success of a region. Published in 2016, RVA Snapshot is a culmination of the Capital Region Collaborative’s efforts to identify priority areas meant to strategically guide how we, as a region, collectively spend our time, energy, and resources for the greatest impact.
Boston also had a great web-based intern portal that connected its local college talent to its local employers. In 2014, in collaboration with 9 local colleges and universities, ChamberRVA developed and launched a similar tool called RVA Intern.
Austin was a great follow up to Raleigh as it reinforced our commitment to our innovation and entrepreneurism efforts. Soon after this visit, ChamberRVA launched the i.e.* StartUp Competition and The RVA Look Book.
Austin’s self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” moniker helped many of our delegation see the importance of branding. Shortly after RVA Creates, a collaborative effort between Venture Richmond, the City, local universities and businesses, came up with a stronger identity for the Richmond Region. We all know and recognize the great work they did with our new “RVA” brand.
ChamberRVA adopted the i.e.* innovation initiative that has helped spur innovation and foster the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Richmond.
The Franklin Covey Leader in Me Program inspired Gail Johnson, founder and former CEO of Rainbow Station to develop the first “Leadership Preschool” in the world.
We encourage participants to check out the regions we visit for their own business interests. Challa Law Group opened an office in Raleigh after this visit exposed the Challas to the region.
For more information, please contact Christy McCurdy at 804-783-9332 or email@example.com.