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Ecosystem Building - A New Economic Development Practice

Become familiarized with a new economic development practice that revolves around creating conducive ecosystems for your community.

For decades, economic development has focused on traditional strategies that revolve around business retention, expansion and attraction ("BRE"), however studies now show that empowering entreprenuers through "ecosystem building" strategies not only creates a more business-friendly environment for local businesses but also increases outside investment into your community. This is not strictly about finding the next "unicorn" in your community. This is about diversifying, empowering and promoting your local economy. COVID-19 has hyper-exposed the needs of local businesses and as economic developers, you wield the power to address immediate needs but also help scale-up ventures in your backyard. Join our conversation as we take the first steps in considering entrepreneurship-led economic development strategies for your community, county, region or state. Ecosystem Building - A New Economic Development Practice Brought to you by: Mejia & Company, an XEMM GROUP company. In this event you will learn:

  • What is "entrepreneurship-led economic development"?

  • New trends on entreprenuership and its effects in economic recovery.

  • Foundational steps towards improving entreprenuership pathways in your community.

  • COVID-19 and its impact on Main Street.

  • Best practices on how to begin implementing new entrepreneurship-led economic development strategies and how to engage stakeholders.

Guest Speaker: Josh Mejia, Founder & CEO of Mejia & Company Biography: Josh Mejia is the current Executive Director of the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (“BCIC”), a type-b economic development organization in Texas. He is also the founder of Mejia & Company which helps communities across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America develop and implement entrepreneurship-led economic development strategies and commercial development projects. With over ten years of experience in economic development, entrepreneurship, government relations and marketing, Josh Mejia has excelled in delivering results through strategic leadership and collaboration amongst a variety of stakeholders. Josh Mejia’s unique background and upbringing as a child of immigrant parents has proven to provide a unique approach in increasing engagement and growth amongst the Latino entrepreneurship community across the U.S. In addition, Mejia has a proven record in expanding his economic development strategies with engaging minority groups in order to address foundational challenges which ultimately have impeded their socioeconomic mobility. Projects like the eBridge Center for Business & Innovation have been used as a prime example by industry leaders such as the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Kauffman Foundation for its ability to foster collaboration amongst key stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, to empower entrepreneurs in retaining, expanding, and creating ventures as well as attract human capital.

Efforts for both Brownsville, Texas and other communities across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America have resulted in additional recognition from industry leaders such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, the International Economic Development Council (“IEDC”) and the Development Counsellors International (“DCI”) for strategies that continue to drive economic development towards new frontiers. These recognitions include the 2020 Young Economic Development Professional award from IEDC and the 2021 “40 Under 40” award from DCI, to name a few.

Josh Mejia is driven by the many stories shared amongst those who believe in the “American Dream”. Having experienced hardships that have shaped his personal and professional life, Mejia has been able to establish a unique foundation of understanding on how entrepreneurship serves individuals as an avenue to economic prosperity. As a conduit in both the public and private sector, Mejia firmly believes that the continuous generation of positive economic impacts can only be achieved through collaboration, engagement, data and complete cultural inclusion. By playing a role in economic development, which services both public and private interests, Mejia has been able to establish strategies and projects that engage those who seek to venture towards such economic prosperities.

As a native of a U.S. Mexico border town which is composed of a unique “minority-majority” makeup and a rich history of entrepreneurship and immigration, Mejia continues to excel in his career in promoting equitable and inclusive economic development for a much brighter future for many communities in the Americas. Being the father of two girls has further enhanced Mejia’s ability to understand just how we all strive to provide better opportunities for those that follow. Such ambition, which remains evident amongst many Americans and is commonly shared but hardly exposed and engaged, is what motivates Josh Mejia to continue delivering avenues for success for those who seek to create it.


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