January 6, 2021 9:13am
Louisville utilities and economic development agencies partner to promote business growth and expansion
Louisville, Ky. (January 5, 2021) – Countless cities across the country currently face the same dilemma: how to keep their economies moving forward in the wake of a pandemic that feels like it’s grinding everything in its path to a halt. Four Louisville organizations recently tackled that challenge head-on, thinking creatively and partnering to host a unique virtual event.
Developed through a joint partnership between Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company (LG&E KU), Louisville Water Company, Greater Louisville Inc. and Louisville Forward, “Place a Bet on Louisville” gave more than 20 of the nation’s top site-selection professionals from 10 states and Canada a look at why the Derby City is a prime location for business growth and expansion. Perhaps the best part, the guests didn’t need to leave their home or office.
Traditionally, a site selector visits locations in person, meets with local economic developers, tours potential buildings or sites and takes in the local scene and culture. Since COVID-19 has put in-person site visits on hold, economic developers have had to use unconventional alternatives to engage these consultants, which is how the partnership and event were born.
“While COVID-19 has certainly altered how we attract new businesses to our region, it has never been more critical that our economic development efforts continue moving forward, said John Launius, Acting Vice President, Regional Economic Development for Greater Louisville Inc. “In the current environment it is critical that we strategically and creatively collaborate with partners like LG&E, Louisville Water, and Louisville Forward to position our region for high-impact growth opportunities into the future.” Broadcasting from the Frazier History Museum, partners pitched the benefits of doing business in Louisville, including:
- Number one in the U.S. for manufacturing according to Forbes Magazine.
- Home to UPS Worldport; ability to ship to 80 percent of the world in under 48 hours.
- One-day drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population through Interstates 64, 65 and 71.
- Named “America’s Aging Care Capital” by Forbes Magazine.
- Best U.S. city for startup costs according to Embroker.
- Best Place for New Business according to SmartAdvisor.
“While this year has forced us to pivot to find new ways to connect with our partners, businesses, and consultants important to our work, we must continue to tout what sets us apart and what will help businesses be successful in the Louisville region,” said Rebecca Fleischaker, director of Louisville Metro’s Department of Economic Development. “We must continue to invite people to Louisville, whether in person or virtually.”
The virtual format did not eliminate the flavor that makes Louisville one-of-a-kind. Guests watched a horse race with a betologist from Churchill Downs and were invited to a mixology demonstration by Beth Burrows representing James B. Beam Distilling Company. For Louisville Water, the cocktail was an opportunity to highlight the utility’s “liquid assets.”
“Louisville Water is part of the recipe of some of the world’s best-selling bourbons,” said Kelley Dearing Smith, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Louisville Water. “Fifteen distilleries use our water daily in addition to more than 20,000 businesses. Not many cities can boast their water treatment facilities rank as 2 of the best in North America for quality that goes above and beyond.”
Utilities are the anchors in growth and Louisville’s energy and water utilities rate as some of the top in the nation. LG&E and KU highlighted its affordable rates and reliability, as well as programs for businesses and communities, including the Site Identification Program, Product Development Initiative and matching-grant fund.
“Businesses can have confidence in LG&E and KU by looking at the customers we serve and the enormity and sensitivity of their operations,” said LG&E and KU Director of Business and Economic Development, John Bevington. “We are the energy provider for UPS Worldport, Ford, North American Stainless, Toyota, Reynold’s Foil, Corning and the many world-famous bourbon distilleries, just to name a few. We not only provide reliable, safe energy at a reasonable cost, we also offer personalized support by our company’s Economic Development and Key Accounts teams. We can meet the needs for just about any project.”
“Place a Bet on Louisville” was well-received by attendees, who lauded the creativity and content. In a post-event survey, 80 percent of respondents said they were either likely or extremely likely to do business in Louisville as a result of the event. Site-selectors were impressed at the partnership and quality of the program.
“Moving forward, marketing our city and region will look different,” said Fleischaker. “The success of this event means we’ll combine virtual and in-person to engage site-selection professionals.”
Place a Bet on Louisville’ is a collaboration between GLI, LG&E KU, Louisville Water, and Louisville Forward.