Writer: Joshua Andino
2 min read March 2023 — Earlier this month, the Fort Worth Chamber announced a new economic development partnership. Here’s what that means for the city.
Announced in mid-March, the Fort Worth Economic Development Partnership, a 501(c)(6), was formed to hone in on business recruitment efforts for the Fort Worth area, allowing the Chamber, which had been coordinating efforts with local stakeholders thus far, to focus on serving its members in terms of business services and development, legislative advocacy, and the needs of the already-established business community. By contrast, the FWEDP’s mission will center on economic development, spearheaded by Robert Allen, former chief of staff to Gov. Greg Abbott.
“We have made the decision to focus and prioritize the FWC’s efforts where it can have the most positive impact on and for our business community,” said Rosa Navejar, FWC Chair, in the press release. “We looked at various models of how comparable cities drive business attraction and retention compared to Fort Worth. While chambers play an important role, the executive board is focusing the FWC’s activities on supporting local business through enlargement of business retention and expansion programs, workforce development, government advocacy, infrastructure and transportation efforts, and educational programs that promote a vibrant business community throughout Fort Worth.”
Now a staple of Fort Worth’s post-pandemic economy, the North Texas market’s ongoing population growth has made it a hub for business relocations, regional offices and other expansion efforts. Over the course of the past year, oneworld Alliance announced in October that it would be relocating its global headquarters from New York to Fort Worth’s Robert L. Crandall Campus, home of American Airlines Group. MP Materials Corp announced it’d be opening a new manufacturing facility in AllianceTexas in North Fort Worth. More recently, locally-based apparel maker Dickies announced in January it’d be moving to a newly renovated Downtown office.
Earlier in the year, the FWC released a report noting the Chamber had scored 72 projects over the last five years, generating over $2.5 billion in capital investment with another 177 projects in the works.
FWC’s Interim President, Mike Berry, explained, “Many cities the size of Fort Worth have chosen to separate business recruitment activities from traditional chamber functions.” He added, “This move is essential for our city to gain a competitive edge in economic development. We’ve had our successes, but there is still tremendous opportunity for us to bring growing, vibrant businesses and a diverse range of high-paying jobs to the Fort Worth area.”
The new entity will be funded by the business community, including current and new FWC members and governed by a separate board of directors focused on economic development. For efficiency, the FWC and FWEDP will have a shared services agreement employing the same administrative, legal, HR, accounting and marketing structures.
Allen, who was tapped to lead the organization, most recently served as president and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corporation based in Austin. In his statement, he said, “In my role with TxEDC, I have met with companies from across the country and every corner of the globe and I’ve learned what they are looking for. I can confidently tell you Fort Worth holds tremendous promise for companies looking to establish or relocate their business.” He added, “Having spent the better part of the past decade focused on driving economic development at a statewide level, Fort Worth must be nimble and proactive when it comes to developing reasonable, responsible growth.”
The FWEDP’s website only recently went live, with more information coming over the next few weeks as the rest of the organization comes together.
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