Four local business leaders met in Worcester recently to discuss the fact that the city is growing at a phenomenal rate, despite the tight rein of regulations on business in the area. The discussion, which was named “Acting Locally”, was hosted by the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, and featured guest speakers from some of the most important businesses in the area.
The meeting focused largely on the need for Worcester business establishments to connect and focus more strongly with their local community. Participating at the conference were three distinguished members of the Worcester business community, including Frederick Eppinger, President of Hanover Insurance; Nick Smith, President of Rand Whitney; and Neil McDonough, CEO of FLEXcon. The conference was moderated by Michael Mulrain of Polar Beverages.
Loosening The Grip Of Regulation: A Common Theme
One of the most commonly voiced themes was the need for authorities in Worcester to loosen the reins of business regulation in the area. More than one of the speakers at the meeting touched upon this theme, and it was generally agreed by many in attendance that the city could afford to be a bit more welcoming and cooperative when it comes to the proposals of entrepreneurs, whether local or national, to establish new businesses in the area.
Several of the panelists noted that, for a small business in Worcester, its owner has to pass through a sea of red tape and regulations before it can win approval for their proposals from local officials. The process can take up to five years before anything is achieved. By contrast, business owners in the Southeastern region of the country, such as Georgia, can usually get approval from city officials much sooner and with far less conditions placed on that approval.
Improving The Quality Of Local Life
Despite the difficulties presented by state regulations, the local Worcester business leaders at the conference expressed their continuing commitment to improving the life of the local community and surrounding towns. Mr. Eppinger, whose company has played a valuable role in the redevelopment of downtown Worcester, applauded the City’s collaborative approach. As Nick Smith pointed out, Worcester’s willingness to work with businesses has been a contributing factor in their desire to continue investing in the development of the area.
It was agreed by all of the panelists that looser regulations on establishing businesses, combined with a strong community commitment from those businesses, is the key to ensuring the growth and continuing good health of the Worcester region. In addition, all of the assembled panelists made encouraging comments stressing the value of local education and training for the next generation of civic and business leaders in Worcester.