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Authority targets two conferences
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Forsyth County News


The Forsyth County Development Authority approved its annual budget during a meeting Thursday.

Before the vote, which was 5-0, the group heard from Randall Toussaint of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

Toussaint presented a breakdown of the $60,000 budget, which comes from Forsyth County, noting that it centers on finding ways to recruit new businesses.

He said about $25,000 of the budget would allow representatives to attend two business conferences later this year in hopes of establishing contact with companies that may want to locate to Forsyth.

The first is BIO International, which Toussaint said is "the premiere conference for life sciences."

The event, which will be held in Washington D.C., focuses on companies that use high levels of technology to develop new medical products.

The second gathering is the MEDICA Conference, which will be held in Germany. It also focuses on the medical industry, but features smaller businesses.

Another $10,000 is set for two "red carpet tours," which will be used to showcase Forsyth to respective businesses.

Bobby Thomas, chairman of the authority, suggested setting one of the tour dates to coincide with the end of BIO conference.

"That way we could tell these international companies to just come on down to Forsyth County before they go back home after the conference," Thomas said.

Another $10,000 would go to developing a business retention survey, which Toussaint would be used to "gauge how [businesses] have managed the last two to three years" and "where they are in terms of rebounding."

"The end goal of this is to have a document with quantifiable information as to the state of our business community," he said, adding it would also provide a "snap shot of where we're going."

Thomas also suggested involving businesses that have left the county in the past few years, to get an idea of why they left and what could be done differently to encourage other businesses to stay.

Another $10,000 would be used to develop and distribute improved marketing materials focusing on Forsyth's incentives and the community as a whole.

The remaining $5,000 would be left as a reserve fund.

In other business, the authority also heard a presentation from Toussaint comparing Forsyth's incentives for new businesses to those of surrounding counties.

The board is scheduled to further discuss incentives and possible changes at its next meeting, which is set for April 21.