The past three years have seen an economic regrowth for Camden, New Jersey, as numerous large corporations began to eye the city as a potential location as part of a $1.3 billion incentive program. Additionally, Camden has attracted startup businesses and smaller firms to the area.
A Commitment to Camden
Dana Redd, Camden’s Mayor, knows incentives are only part of building and growing the city’s economy. Along with other city officials, Mayor Redd launched the Committed to Camden initiative, dedicated to economic improvements in the former industrial town. Working through the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Redd encourages Camden businesses of all sizes to work together.
One company that has embraced the initiative is Holtec International, a supplier of equipment and systems for the energy industry. The company plans a new campus which will span 50 acres in South Camden. This includes two manufacturing plants and a corporate engineering center. Holtec is using local subcontractors as well as other local businesses during the construction process. Accordingly, on its website, the company details ongoing measures it is taking to support the local community.
How Small Businesses Can Prepare
Whenever regions provide incentives or tax breaks to firms to attract new businesses to the area, smaller firms can position themselves to work with these larger companies. Thus by starting early, smaller firms may be ahead of the competition, and give themselves entry into ongoing income opportunities. So here are a few things businesses can do to prepare for the changing ecosystem, in Camden and beyond.
– Join the Chamber of Commerce:
Camden’s initiatives work in cooperation with the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. Therefore small businesses that hold membership may be at an advantage in terms of receiving news about potential opportunities.
– Join Specialized Groups:
Beyond the Chamber, most cities provide multiple professional organizations and groups for education and networking opportunities. You may be able to learn of opportunities through these organizations. Camden has its fair share of specialized associations; local businesses may consider joining the Professional Women’s Network or registering with the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council (EMSDC).
– Use the Summer Slowdown:
If your business usually experiences a slowdown in the summer, you can use this time to prepare for upcoming opportunities. Tasks like upgrading your website and doing competitive research can enhance your position in your local market. Here are ways to use the summer slowdown constructively.
In addition to monitoring the local Chamber of Commerce’s calendar and taking advantage of business networking events in the area, social media sites like LinkedIn, MeetUp and Facebook can provide potential leads as larger firms move to your area. For example, a business group on LinkedIn for your area may become active with new members. MeetUp can help you find groups for newcomers to the area, both casual and business.
For new and existing small businesses, the incentivized growth in Camden may bring opportunities for partnerships that boost sales. So take measures now to target large businesses that may be relocating to your area. Small businesses can get an early jump on building new and potentially long-lasting business relationships.