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Northwest Indiana Forum to unveil regional economic development plan

The Northwest Indiana Forum is now marketing the Region with the slogan "welcome to the middle of everywhere." It will unveil its new regional economic development plan Thursday.

The Northwest Indiana Forum will unveil its regional economic development plan at a luncheon next week.

The privately funded Portage-based economic development agency spent $200,000 to hire Austin- and Seattle-based TIP Strategies earlier this year to "craft a playbook for economic development of our seven-county region," outlining strategies of how to attract new businesses and more investment across Northwest Indiana. The hope is to get more coordination among local cities, towns, counties and other groups in courting jobs, businesses, and investment.

“The Regional Economic Development Plan will help build a platform for cooperation which will allow partners to work together towards impacting the regional economy at a more rapid pace,” Northwest Indiana Forum President and CEO Heather Ennis said. “We challenge our business leaders to dream big, dig in and do the hard work to move this region to the next level.”

"The goal of this adventure is to have action-oriented, regional initiatives that will attract investment and talent at a more rapid pace," the Northwest Indiana Forum said in an event announcement.

Since March, the consultant has been meeting with shareholders in business, government and economic development across Northwest Indiana to gather information while drafting the plan intended to get everyone on the same page.

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"The consulting team also led over ten focus group discussions involving local representatives of manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, young professionals, higher education, entrepreneurs, environmental, commercial real estate, non-profits, tourism, and regional economic development partners," the Northwest Indiana Forum said in the event announcement. "We are honored to share the outcome at our luncheon on Thursday... The goal of this adventure is to have action-oriented, regional initiatives that will attract investment and talent at a more rapid pace."

The plan will be revealed to the public at the luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Avalon Manor, 3550 U.S. 30 in Hobart.

Tickets are $40 to $350, and sponsorships are available.

For more information, visit nwiforum.org or contact Raeann Trakas at rtrakas@nwiforum.org or 219-763-6303.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.