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New tools for Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc.’s ‘economic garden’ shed

New tools for Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc.’s ‘economic garden’ shed

Matt Hurlbutt

Companies looking to grow their business have another tool to use with Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc.’s economic gardening program.

GRE, by partnering with the National Center for Economic Gardening, can now provide the program to qualified companies within the nine-county region.

Since its inception in 2012, some 215 regional companies have participated in the economic gardening program.

Economic gardening is ideal for second stage entrepreneurs because it focuses on critical strategic challenges – from developing new markets and refining business models to assessing competitive intelligence, said Matt Hurlbutt, GRE’s president and CEO.

The program grew out of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council as a new approach to regional growth.

With seed funding from Empire State Development, it initially supported 20 companies annually. That number grew, with increased funding sources, to around 40 companies.

While there was a lull with the program because of the pandemic, Hurlbutt is eager to make businesses aware of the program, which he said could be especially beneficial after challenges brought on by COVID-19.

“It can be an outstanding recovery tool for businesses,” he said.

The economic gardening program can help companies identify qualified leads, map a geographic area for marketing, review core strategies, apply social media tactics, utilize search engine optimization and build strong teams.

GRE is looking to work with upwards of 30 firms this year through the economic gardening program, including women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

The program can have a major impact on job growth regionally, Hurlbutt said.

While the businesses eligible for the program represent 15 percent of the firms in the area, they account for 40 percent of the jobs, he noted.

To be eligible for the program, companies must be for-profit, privately held firms that have between $1 million and $50 million in annual revenue and employ at least 10 but not more than 100 employees (including the owner).

They must also be headquartered and operate in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming or Yates County and have maintained principal operations in the region for at least the past two years.

ComTech Solutions LLC participated in the economic gardening program in 2014.

Rob Moyer, ComTech’s president, said the program allowed his business to access some market research it would not have been able to afford at the time.

The program also allowed him to speak with industry experts that provided valuable perspectives on growth challenges.

The most valuable part of the program for Moyer was a CEO roundtable that GRE hosted.

“This benefit allowed me to sit with other area business leaders, share challenges and dig into solutions that I may have otherwise not thought of,” he said.

Details on the program and how to apply can be found at .

[email protected] / (585) 653-4021