What jobs? Why jobs? | Business column

Rebecca Martin

We all know that small business accounts for 80 percent of job creation in this country. In a marketplace that continuously evolves to reach local and global consumers, how do we define success when we talk about jobs?

Small to mid-size companies are the foundation of our business base in Federal Way. In fact, 90 percent of the business licenses issued at the city are for companies with 10 employees or less. Clearly, the potential for job growth within our economic footprint is strong.

At the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, we ask: “What kind of family-sustaining jobs are we seeking? Why would a business be interested in offering jobs here? Where will employees live and work?”

The answers to these questions can drive business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. But, more importantly, we first must ask ourselves, “How do we know which jobs will work for our community?”

Economic growth must come from within the business community as it works in partnership with other stakeholders to develop strategies for job creation.

According to the “Brookings Report, Remaking Economic Development,” while the process of developing business has the potential to influence growth through action and investment, it requires a broader, more inclusive view of the economic landscape. In other words, are the right stakeholders at the table?

Business builds business. At its heart, economic development is, like the chamber itself, an ecosystem that seeks engagement with different markets – and the businesses within them — to create growth.

Economic ecosystems are business clusters that provide products, goods and services within their industry or geographic network. For the chamber, economic development can prioritize building ecosystems for core industries. This is done, in part, by identifying and supporting our established and emerging business clusters.

The chamber, for example, appreciates the city working with the first boutique winery in Federal Way — an industry already thriving in communities that surround us. One winery opens every day in Washington — this industry is an economic engine throughout the state. And with work underway at the city to address codes, zoning and permitting, this business ecosystem has the potential to introduce an industry cluster that includes wineries, microbreweries and distilleries, all of which will support tourism while creating new jobs here in Federal Way.

Building on industry clusters, our business climate will better enable small businesses to start and grow even as it supports the globally competitive firms located along our business corridor.

So now, I ask you, what do we have to do to get a chocolatier?

Rebecca Martin is the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce CEO. She can be reached at martin@federalwaychamber.com.

More in Business

Rethinking fashion: Federal Way woman’s business encourages textile upcycling, recycling

The Chayah Movement will host a clothing swap April 21 in Federal Way.

Business pathway is a universal gateway | Guest column

One year before I entered business school as an MBA student, I… Continue reading

Dutch Bros. Coffee opens new Federal Way location

The drive-thru coffee shop with the cult following is located at 27525 Pacific Highway S.

Pacific Seafood to close Federal Way location

Nearly 70 employees at the company’s Salmolux division are affected.

Destination data: Enhancing tourism in Federal Way

The chamber will conduct a tourism enhancement study.

Startup company helps homebuyers with down payment

Loftium will provide to $50,000 if buyers list spare room on Airbnb.

Networking group provides support for local business women

Kimberly DeMile, owner of Federal Way Jazzercise, recently started a local chapter of BAM.

For longtime FW auto dealership, some things never change | Mirror’s 20th anniversary

Jet Chevrolet advertised in the Mirror’s inaugural edition and is still doing business today.

Piper’s Playground offers indoor play space for dogs

Federal Way’s first indoor dog park opened Jan. 18.

From watchdog to community service, Mirror has a history of excellence | Mirror’s 20th anniversary

The Mirror has received multiple awards over the past 20 years for its journalism and advertising.

To BRE or not to BRE

Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce CEO says business retention is a top priority.

Uptown Square Early Learning Center celebrates opening with ribbon cutting

Center offers part- and full-day preschool program for 100 students.