The Business Advisory Board (BAB) is made up of city business owners and community leaders who partner with Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development. Its members are appointed by the mayor and must be SLC residents and/or have ownership interest in a Salt Lake City business. BAB helps direct city economic policy, promotes small business growth, supports local entrepreneurs, and encourages businesses to relocate to our city.

As part of an ongoing effort to keep SLC’s business community in the loop, the BAB is blogging synopses of our monthly meetings here. (Recordings are available to the public as well.)

SLC’s First Annual Economic Development Week

Our May 10th meeting of the Business Advisory Board fell in the middle of Economic Development Week, a nationwide celebration created by the International Economic Development Council to increase awareness of local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities and improve quality of life.

Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development seized this opportunity to spotlight some of the great work they’ve been doing with a lively social media campaign, official proclamation by Mayor Biskupski, and Regent Street Walking Tour open to the public.

Local First Utah

BAB celebrated Economic Development Week with a presentation from Local First Utah Executive Director Kristen Lavelett, who also happens to be an ex-officio member of the Business Advisory Board.

Local First is spearheading a statewide movement to bring much-deserved attention to the value and vitality of locally owned, independent businesses to our communities and our economy. Most people have heard the statistic: Each dollar you spend at an independent business returns about 3 times more money to your community than a dollar spent at a national chain. But did you know, here in Utah, it’s actually closer to 4 times the benefit?

Businesses can register with Local First Utah to receive educational and marketing materials that actively brand them as locally owned and independently operated. When you register, you join the Local First Movement and a vibrant professional community committed to educating consumers on the benefits of shopping local with public awareness campaigns and special events like Small Business Saturdays. Public education on the value of spending local has actually been shown to increase the rate of local business growth!

Department of Economic Development Update

The DED has submitted a request to the Mayor to add a Workforce Development staff member. This addition is in line with the strategic priorities of the city and the practices of other comparable urban areas. If the request is approved, a search would begin after Council passes the budget later this year.

In-depth interviews with local businesses continue for the ongoing business engagement survey. Approximately 20% of the interviews have been completed, which means the project is on target to finalize by the end of the fiscal year.

Finally, strategic planning is underway. DED Director Lara Fritts provided an update on the core objectives and a fruitful discussion ensued. The plan is on track to be completed and approved by the end of the fiscal year. Key areas of interest include:

  • A primary emphasis on workforce issues, including training programs, business services, and our low unemployment rates.
  • Focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses
  • Healthy city growth with sustainable objectives based on the city’s current resources and available services.

City Council Update

The budget process continues to be the central focus. Careful consideration is being given to issues of taxation for two services: sewer line and treatment facility upgrades within the existing city infrastructure and public library system investments.

Mark Your Calendar!

Lastly, BAB was reminded of some fun upcoming summer events – and we’d like to pass that reminder along to you:

May 19 – 21: Living Traditions Festival

May 31 –  June 4: Utah Pride Festival 2017

June 3: Utah Museum of Contemporary Art 2017 Gala

July 1: SLUG Magazine’s SLUG Mag on Tap, a craft beer festival featuring 100% Utah-brewed beer


Until June,

Curtis Thornhill
BAB Secretary & Apt Marketing Solutions CEO