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Growth Through Partnerships

By Alisha Benson, CEO, Greater Spokane Inc., and Marcelo Morales, GSI Board Chair and Owner, A4Ventures

Marcelo Morales and Alisha Benson / Photo by Rogue Heart Media / Megan Kennedy

*The GSI Connect Magazine is published in partnership with the Spokane Journal of Business. To read the 2022-2023 edition of the magazine view the digital publication here or contact us to pick up your copies today.

Welcome to the 2022 edition of the GSI Connect Magazine. There have been complex initiatives to work through this year and we’re proud to have such a diverse set of community partners around the table sharing different perspectives, shaping policy issues, and developing economic development strategies that benefit everyone to create a thriving Spokane region. Growth Through Partnerships is a fitting theme for this year’s magazine.

THANK YOU. Thank you for your work and support. We don’t achieve anything alone. Coming out of the pandemic and collaborating with community leaders has allowed our organization to implement large-scale visionary initiatives that address short-term needs and help shape the future of our region.

With approximately 40 community partners around the table, we launched and are now implementing THRIVE Spokane, the Spokane region’s comprehensive economic development strategy, which aims to develop and implement programs that support equitable business and economic growth over the next five years. This addresses many issues such as transportation, housing, and our region’s talent shortage.

GSI teamed up with SP3NW and many other partners to give life sciences a heavy lift and create the Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Cluster (Evergreen BIO) with a grant awarded from the Washington State Department of Commerce. Evergreen BIO works to build a modern life sciences innovation cluster with a focus on life science contract services in discovery, development, and manufacturing.

We were excited to be back in person in Washington D.C. for our annual D.C. Fly-in. This was a tremendous opportunity to be in front of policymakers while helping convene a community-wide advocacy effort around healthcare policy and infrastructure investment. In our state legislature, Senate bill 5901 passed (thank you electeds!) and creates a tax deferral of up to $400,000 for new buildings, machinery, and equipment used for manufacturing, research and development, and commercial testing among other applications.

GSI houses Career Connect Northeast (which is the combined Spokane STEM and Career Connect WA East Networks) to further talent and workforce development. These programs support the eastern WA region’s economy by providing career-connected learning and STEM career pathway experiences for middle and high school students. GSI will be expanding these career pathway experiences to support our 18-30-year-old residents.

These are just a few examples of how a team of remarkable people in our region is continuing to work to pave the path for a better future and a stronger economy.

There are big challenges and opportunities ahead as we tackle creating an environment for businesses to continue to grow and thrive. Our success is built on forging deeper more inclusive partnerships and leaning into economic growth and innovation and talent attraction and retention. We are committed to advocating on behalf of your business, understanding the needs of our business community, leading our region’s economic development strategy, addressing the talent shortage, and ensuring we look to the long-term for visionary initiatives for our region.

All of this leads to community development, which at its core, needs cross-sector leaders coming together to do the hard work of transformative change.  Thank you for joining us in this essential work!

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