Marin Economic Forum
Our local economy remains one of my top priorities. My focus on this issue has included working actively to turn the idea of an organization focused on our unique Marin economy into a reality, which happened at the beginning of 2010 with the formation of the Marin Economic Forum as a public-private partnership.
The MEF was conceived out of the work of the Marin Economic Commission that began in 1992. The commission authorized two studies that outlined targeted industries that would thrive in Marin and should be encouraged to come here. MEF is working to bring businesses to Marin; provide jobs in Marin, and help businesses that are here succeed.
I've said that in the past, Marin didn't worry about its economy - it didn't have to. But now there's a realization that our local economic health is critical to the way of life we so enjoy. MEF brings together all the many stakeholders in our local economy:
- Local government representatives from both the county and cities and towns
- Chambers of Commerce, who are so important in their local areas and are working on a collaborative approach to the Marin economy
- Non-profits, who are a major source of both employment and public benefit in Marin
- Environmental organizations, who have an important role in Marin's leadership in green industries
- Educational institutions, whose programs are critical to meet our businesses future needs
MEF continues to enhance its website to serve as a one stop portal for business and community information for Marin County and each of its cities, providing resources to those looking to establish or grow their business in Marin. This information includes economic overviews, business data (taxable sales revenues, building and development permit process, commercial space prices and vacancy rates, etc.), home sale and residential rental rates and population demographics, contact information for government offices and Chambers of Commerce, and more.
MEF publishes the Marin Economic Bulletin - a detailed overview of Countywide demographic and economic data. The connections to the state and national economies are discussed, as well as the movement in labor and retail markets, residential housing data, commercial real estate vacancies, demographic data, and issues concerning industries targeted for business retention, attraction and expansion.
The Forum is also an independent and objective source for economic research and analysis, contracted for a range of studies for local government, non-profit and private sector entities.
In addition to providing analysis on our own economy, MEF has undertaken a number of initiatives to focus on economic vitality in Marin:
- Round Tables comprised of industry experts hosted by MEF are being formed for each of Marin's target industries.
- A partnership with the West Marin cheese industry to create a "Cheese Trail" map to draw attention to our wonderfully unique and high quality cheese producers. This also benefits the West Marin businesses, by boosting the profile of all that West Marin has to offer.
- Growing partnerships with College of Marin, Dominican University of California, and Sonoma State University to match educational program with Marin's future employment needs.
- Partnering with Dominican on the newly launched "Venture Greenhouse" accelerator, supporting entrepreneurs to launch businesses that offer environmental benefits.
- Working with cities and chambers to do economic analysis on projects of specific interest, where data and unbiased analysis can provide an important element in creating a common vision in the community. MEF is working to partner with all Marin towns and cities to provide this type of data.
MEF is led by Interim CEO Dr. Robert Eyler, alongside his duties as Professor, Frank Howard Allen Research Fellow and Director of the Executive MBA Program at Sonoma State University.
I truly believe that local economic sustainability is the key to achieving our local civic, environmental and social equity goals. I am delighted that MEF is now established and under way.
For more information on the Marin Economic Forum, visit: