Counties network, market in city

Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 20, 2012

NATCHEZ — Members of a 10-county coalition hosted state economic development heavyweights in Natchez Thursday and Friday to talk up their counties.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the Southwest Mississippi Partnership hosted the project managers from the Mississippi Development Authority’s global and existing industry divisions as well as congressional representatives as part of a stakeholders networking opportunity.

“Each county sat down with the stakeholders and presented their information, saying here are our strengths, here are our industrial sites and the available buildings we have,” Russ said.

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The Southwest Mississippi Partnership is a regional economic development organization that includes Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties.

“On an annual basis, we all contribute and pool our funds based on our populations to do regional marketing efforts in Southwest Mississippi,” Russ said. “This is one of those regional marketing efforts.”

In addition to having individual access to the stakeholders, the counties had sessions in which Southwest Mississippi as a whole region, Russ said.

The Natchez Inc. director said the stakeholders’ conference was planned to coincide with The Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.

In addition to presenting their assets, the meeting allowed each county the opportunity to get to know the MDA representatives, Russ said.