Chamber chairman’s view: In Duluth, opportunity knocks as loud as ever – Duluth News-Tribune

The Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to be one of the largest in the state, serving more than 1,000 members. Our Northeast Minnesota footprint makes us an influential regional chamber, advocating for investments and policies that benefit our economy and communities. Our award-winning Chamber of Commerce is recognized and recognized by the industry. We have an amazing range of programs and events to benefit everyone from small business owners to leaders in our largest industries. We are considered a “fully established” chamber by industry standards.

However, it’s clear to our Board, our staff, and me that we can — and should — do more to support our members.

2023 crystal ball.jpg

Gary Meade/Duluth News-Tribune

In 2023, we will operate under a new strategic framework that defines the scope of our work around three fundamental pillars: business environment, economic development and community advancement. Under each, we will focus more on policy and advocacy for our businesses and communities.

One must be prepared for a potentially incredible two years of development. With the expansion of the medical district, the potential relocation of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine Duluth campus, investments in advanced aviation, retail expansion, high demand from the hospitality industry, manufacturing growth, our world class port and all the support industry, we must find ways to speed up housing and child care to meet workforce demand. To that end, we continue to work with the City to improve permitting, construction services, and inspection processes. Additionally, we know we need tax base growth to provide the relief our region’s property taxpayers need.

When evaluating economic development in the Duluth region, we must begin to consider larger issues. Natural beauty and amenities, a diverse local economy, and a spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship all converge in Duluth, presenting unrivaled opportunities.

There is a palpable energy around our city’s recent arrival of new leaders and entrepreneurs. The Chamber is proud to have a seat on the Economic Development Coalition as well as the city’s economic development audit. This coordinated and positive economic development is key to future tax base growth and must be prioritized – both to capitalize on opportunities and to address challenges.

Community advancement is an area where chambers and the business community must be agents of change. Our communities have long been unpopular, causing pain to families and labor shortages to businesses. In 2023, you’ll see chambers ramp up their efforts to support diversity, equity and inclusion. We will continue to offer additional Pledge for Change activities and resources. You’ll see an intentional shift in our programs to ensure the voices at the table reflect the leadership and diversity of the region. We are delighted to now have a charitable foundation alongside our Chamber of Commerce to help support these efforts.

The final area where you will see more effort is our policy and advocacy work. We recognize our need to be a voice for businesses and communities at the local, state and federal levels. To that end, we now have a seat on the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce representing the northern half of Minnesota. This seat will allow us to have greater influence on policy decisions across the state. Now, more than ever, you will see the Chamber representing the best interests of our region.

Opportunity is knocking on our district’s doors as loudly as ever. It’s time to answer that call and do our part to be the best version of Duluth and Northeast Minnesota we can.

Matt Baumgartner is

Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce

. He was invited to write this article by the opinion board of a news forum.


Matt Baumgartner

new year series
The News Forum Opinion Board again this year asked community leaders and area experts to peer into a crystal ball and share what 2023 might bring. This column is part of that series.
Sunday December 25 – Northland Economy
Monday, December 26 — Business
Tuesday, December 27 — Travel
Wednesday, December 28 — Duluth
Thursday, December 29 – St.Lewis County
Friday, December 30 – Duluth Public Schools
Saturday, December 31 – Minnesota State Legislature
Sunday, January. 1 – Downtown Duluth
Monday, January 2 — Public Safety
Tuesday, January 3 — DC

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