Mableton Improvement Coalition’s 2023 Economic Development Summit was an overwhelming success, attended by more than 150 individuals representing businesses, nonprofits, and agencies. Held on September 22, 2023, at the Riverside EpiCenter, the Summit featured four general sessions comprised of subject matter experts, business influencers, and government leaders sharing information on key strategic issues facing businesses today. The Summit allowed business owners and entrepreneurs at all stages of business to access pertinent development, support, and sustainable growth information.
The Summit featured the first-ever Mableton Improvement Coalition’s Excellence Awards. Congratulations to former Gov. Roy Barnes (Mableton Legacy Award), Dr. Dana Giles (Visionary for Entrepreneurship), First Christian Church of Mableton (Community Partner Award), Cobb PARKS (Community Sponsorship Award), Cobb Works (Economic Development Contributor), Ford Thigpen, Westside Bank); Dr. Chea Rainford, Vibrant Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry; Tarryn Sampson, TS Tax & Accounting Services (Business Impact Awards)
Cobb County Commission Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, District Commissioner Monique Sheffield, City of Mableton Mayor Michael Owens, and City Council members were present to share with attendees the upcoming plans and developments impacting the City of Mableton. Sheriff Owens shared updates on innovative tools his department is implementing, highlighting his department’s use of AI for efficiencies across vital functions.
The first session highlighted the business plan’s importance and building a sustainable business. The panel of Linda Pharr, ACE’s Marietta Murton, and the SBA District Director Terri Dennison brought informed perspectives and information on accessible technical and program resources to assist businesses to thrive.
Cassius Butts, Sonya Grant, Drew Raessler, and Julia Areh brought attendees insights on the trends in workforce development from the lens of housing, training, transportation, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and mental health. During this panel, the audience was updated on the Cobb Works Training Center slated for completion in Mableton in 2024.
Brandy Nagel, Paul Wilson, Jr., Dr. Dana Giles, and Joseph A. Jackson, Jr. discussed the impact of incubator and accelerator programs in fostering innovation, generating employment opportunities, and fueling economic expansion. The Pebblebrook High School Entrepreneurial program was showcased, allowing attendees to glimpse its effectiveness in developing young entrepreneurs and their accomplishments.
The afternoon panels of Todd Grey of Kaiser Permanente, Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Amanda Blanton, and Dr. Stephanie Hodge of Essex Consulting discussed business-building and procurement strategies focusing on strategic alliances, set aside contracts and partnerships. These panelists also shared the importance of certifications and designations.
Answering the attendees’ interest regarding funding sources, Westside Bank’s, Ford Thigpen, SPAC Opportunity Partners’ Dr. David Panton, and the Urban League of Georgia’s Kimberly Lee spoke of various funding sources, requirements, and means to access capital.
The Economic Development title sponsor, Kaiser Permanente, presenting sponsors Westside Bank and SAE School, and donations from Brixmor enabled a near-flawless execution of the event. Mableton Improvement Coalition is grateful for their support. The event’s volunteers and MIC’s board members were integral to the success of the event.
To view photos of the day, click here.