A year after debuting its economic development plan for the next five years, the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce provided an update Wednesday to community members on its 11 initiatives to create a holistic economic development plan.
“We are working to create an innovation ecosystem,” says Craig Dickman, CEO of Breakthrough Fuel. “It’s been interesting and fascinating about what’s happening in all sectors.”
One of the largest developments was the announcement of TitletownTech last fall. The Green Bay Packers and Microsoft came together on the partnership to advance technology and innovation in Northeast Wisconsin. A new facility will contain a business accelerator; TitletownTech Labs, a support program for technology development; and will be home to the Titletown Venture Capital Fund, which the Packers and Microsoft gave $5 million each to launch.
“We are working to transform the way people think about Green Bay and to show off our culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Packers CEO Mark Murphy says.
Murphy used the breakfast gather to announce the second phase of Titletown, which includes residential housing — a mix of townhouses and apartments — an office tower, and a mix of commercial space for retailers, dining options and entertainment-themed businesses.
“We hope to make this all happen in the next two to three years,” he says.
Other big steps forward during the past year on the development plan include the addition of another engineering degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the announcement of a new STEM Innovation Center on campus that will house the college’s engineering program, the Einstein Project and UW Extension offices.
“That will be the focal point of our Phoenix Innovation Park, and we hope to bring other businesses there in a public-private partnership,” says UWGB Chancellor Gary Miller.
On the tourism front, the plan to build a new exhibition center in Green Bay will be a huge boost to the region, says Brad Toll, executive director of the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. He says the $93 million center will provide more options to organizations and businesses wanting to hold an event in Green Bay since it will have 100,000 square feet in one location that can be used for trade shows.
While the Greater Green Bay Chamber is leading the plan, Laurie Radke, the organization’s president and CEO, says the entire community is involved. “The chamber views itself as a convener — we are bringing people, organizations and businesses together to make great things happen,” she says.