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2024: What’s Ahead for the Greater Freeport Partnership

2024: What’s Ahead for the Greater Freeport Partnership
January 10, 2024 Billy George

Happy New Year! The Partnership is looking ahead, and we want to share a short digest of projects and initiatives that are upcoming in 2024.  

In January we will launch the Business Academy for Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs (BASE) Camp. This educational series is an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to learn more about the important elements of business ownership to be successful. BASE Camp is a series of five evening classes over 10 weeks. Each class will focus on a facet of developing a business. Class graduates will be offered the opportunity to compete in a Business Pitch Competition for the potential to win $2,000 in cash prizes to help grow their business! Registration for all five classes is $200, or $50 for each class. There are still spots available. Registration can be found here on the Partnership website 

The Partnership will continue to serve as a small business navigator helping local businesses apply for the new state grant opportunity called the NewBiz Program. This program is geared to businesses that were launched in 2020 or 2021 and remain in operation during the pandemic but have not been eligible for other federal or state relief programming since they were not operational prior to the pandemic. One local business shared they already received a $10,000 grant. The applications window closes January 11, 2024 at 11:59 pm so be sure to get more information at ASAP! 

We are planning and scheduling our first round of business retention visits. These are meetings with our primary employers to help us understand the pinch-points in their businesses and where we can help and connect them to additional resources. 

Site Development is continuous work, and we will continue to meet landowners and building owners to help us hone strategies for development and future land use. 

Planning for 2024 tourism campaigns and events is already underway. The tourism season and major events begin in early spring and our intention is to continue to provide the best experience possible for our visitors and residents. 

New in 2024, we will be distributing a Monthly Marketing Message. The first email was sent yesterday with information so you can help us spread the word to your constituents and partners. At the beginning of each month, you will receive an email that includes attachments with all types of media information to print or upload and display in your business. Examples of what will be sent include a monthly calendar of community events, editorial blog of things to do in the county, posters for events and educational programs, graphics, and videos to share on your video screens and more.  

Internally, the Partnership has undergone transitions in the last quarter, and we have important positions to fill to continue our great work with a full staff. We will be looking to hire two staff positions, an administrative support position, and a development role. The board and staff will also undergo a strategic planning process, revisiting our mission and vision statements in the first quarter as the Partnership’s work has continuously evolved from our inception. 

 Also, we have called community members to create a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Committee to help us create an inclusion statement to guide our work. The actionable items within our inclusion statement will inform the way we communicate, convene, and create future programs and events for our community.  

Lastly, we are excited to share a summary of our efforts in 4Q-2023 (link to 4th Qtr Report) with you, our members. We look forward to continuing to serve our members and communities in the focus areas of economic development, business support, tourism, events and placemaking in 2024. 

Andrea Schultz Winter is the Executive Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. She can be reached at or 815-233-1354.