cities wk bfast
Georgia Cities Week kicked off this week with the annual Business Breakfast, hosted by the city of Richmond Hill and the Chamber of Commerce on Monday.
"Richmond Hill’s business expo was a great success over the weekend," Mayor Richard Davis said during the breakfast. "I think it’s one of the most important events of the year in Richmond Hill and this week is a very big one for the city."
The morning featured guest speakers discussing business and growth in Coastal Georgia, including Heidi Green, the state’s first female deputy commissioner for global commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
"Ms. Green oversees the division that helps existing industries grow and expand, develops and recruits new businesses to Georgia and increases Georgia’s trade around the world," City Manager Mike Melton said.
Green presented statistics and information about the importance of Georgia’s foreign export business and the small business opportunities associated with that.
"Between 60 and 70 percent of the Georgia Port Authority’s total business is from Asia," she said. "Made in America goods are very popular in China and our goal is to make sure their shopping malls are filled with Georgia products."
Green said quality of life is a very important piece of the equation for businesses looking to expand or relocate, or small family-owned businesses looking for a place to live and get started up.
"Richmond Hill and Bryan County is an attractive option for that," she said.
Her department is working to grow existing and new small businesses throughout the state. Governor Sonny Perdue has said "small business must be a priority" and Green noted they are focusing their attention to small business strategic industries to help them excel in growth and expand their markets.
"The opportunities are limitless," she said of increasing Georgia’s market of global products.
Green said, in turn, increasing the local market on a global scale will help the economy and bring the value of the dollar up. She noted some key exports as agriculture products and paper but said things like art, American designer clothing, or homemade soap – niche specialty goods – are unique overseas, and therefore very popular.
City Developer Jan Bass helped coordinate the breakfast and said Green was an outstanding speaker.
"She enlightened the local business community on Georgia’s business strengths and our current trade status in the foreign market," Bass said. "Her recent travel to China with the Georgia delegation provided useful information to local small business owners with future expectations of growth in the foreign trade market."