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Every Monday -- News from GCP

GCP Insight: Advocacy efforts secure state budget items important to our members

In this week’s “GCP Insight” video, the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s senior director of government advocacy Alesha Washington discusses how the organization was successful in securing items of importance to our members in the recently signed two-year, $71B state budget bill.

Advocacy efforts by the GCP and other metro chambers from around the state helped remove expansion of the sales tax and the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT), increases that were proposed to offset a personal income tax cut.

Additionally, GCP and its chamber partners worked to preserve the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, which has been a vital economic development tool in urban areas including downtown Cleveland.

Click to watch and learn more about our advocacy work in Columbus on behalf of our members and the Northeast Ohio business community.

"GCP Insight" is hosted by Lesic and Camper Vice President Steve Luttner.

2016 RNC: Learn more about volunteer opportunities

Ensuring involvement by Cleveland and Northeast Ohio companies, businesses and residents is an extremely important part of hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Volunteer opportunities will include airport greeters, hotel greeters, transportation greeters, street ambassadors, and hospitality. Volunteers will also be needed for clerical, office, and special project support in the months preceding the convention.

While specific details of these opportunities are still being developed, we encourage you to visit the volunteer opportunity website and sign up by clicking the "SIGN UP NOW" button.

Those who sign up in advance will be among the first to receive important updates and information about how to register for specific opportunities when these become available in OCTOBER 2015.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Signing up does not guarantee a position. The official volunteer forms must be completed when registration opens.

Click to learn more.

Port of Cleveland sees major increase in 2015 shipping container traffic

Shipping container cargo moving through the Port of Cleveland is up 300 percent compared with this time last year, demonstrating the momentum of the Port of Cleveland’s Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE) liner service.

Operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group, the CEE connects Greater Cleveland to global commerce, providing Midwestern businesses a direct, nonstop maritime link to European markets. It also helps companies avoid the costs and delays associated with congested East Coast ports.

Dave Gutheil, the Port's vice president of maritime & logistics, reports that through June 2015, the Port has moved over 750 shipping containers through its docks, compared to 174 at this time last year. That dramatic increase in container cargo is significant for the Port and the CEE, as it proves market acceptance of the liner service following its inaugural season in 2014.

“Last year, the CEE attracted mostly break-bulk cargo, larger freight like machinery,” explained Port President and CEO Will Friedman, “but this year we are making significant inroads to the containerized cargo market. This is further proof that the service is a winner and here to stay.”

Friedman said the next frontier is to continue growing local acceptance of the service. “We know that there are a high number of local executives and logistics staff at companies across Ohio that have not investigated the CEE as an option for moving cargo,” said Friedman.

“We are working hard to connect with those leaders and show that we can save them time and money while offering reliable, efficient, and customer-friendly service.”

Those interested in finding out more about using the Cleveland-Europe Express or the Port’s maritime services should contact Dave Gutheil, vice president of maritime & logistics at David.Gutheil@portofcleveland.com or 216.377.1363.

News from our partners: Taking inspiration from the Silicon Valley

It’s time to stop talking about “the next Silicon Valley” in the conversation about the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems in our region and elsewhere, writes JumpStart CEO Ray Leach in a recent blog from the Huffington Post. He says:

“So, let's get over it. None of us are going to be the next Silicon Valley—at least not in our lifetimes. The primary question is: How can Silicon Valley inspire us to progress and improve our own entrepreneurial ecosystems?

“…The Bay Area had transistors and microprocessors. Perhaps our game-changer companies will be focused on medical technology or additive manufacturing. However our story plays out, it will not be the same as Silicon Valley's.”

Click here to read the full blog.

Middle-market perspectives: Best practices to become “mobile-centric”

Mobile business technology isn't just a useful option for doing business today. It's a must-have tool.

Erik Sherman, a National Center for the Middle Market contributor and author, notes that mobile lets companies in a variety of industries—including real estate, insurance, banking, retail, hospitality and manufacturing—respond more quickly and directly to prospects and customers.

It also helps businesses collect data that provides transformative insights into markets, employees and business processes, ultimately allowing them to offer the type of user experience people want.

If your middle-market company plans to become “mobile-centric,” Sherman offers five best practices to consider when making the transition. Here’s a snapshot:
  • Remember that mobile is king. There's a common saying in business technology these days: mobile first. It means you have to approach processes and software with the assumption that mobile is the most important platform.

  • Learn about mobile technology's quirks. Developing mobile applications offers significant challenges. Navigation has to be clear, obvious and simple.

  • Have the know-how. Although it's possible to develop Web-based applications for mobile devices, you need expertise, either in-house or brought in through consultants, to use a device's full capabilities and give users the experience they expect.

  • Manage the devices. When you give employees mobile devices or access to your systems via their personal devices, you must learn how to safeguard company data.

  • Get other business processes up to speed. Mobile migration improves your ability to be more responsive to customers at virtually any hour of the day. You’ll need to ensure that other aspects of the business work in sync.
Click to learn more.

The National Center for the Middle Market, a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital, is a strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Initiative.