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Small business, growth top discussion at Kent County Economic Summit

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Delaware’s economy will be driven by entrepreneurs, startups, and friendly tax and regulatory policies. That’s the summary offered by Gov. John Carney, keynote speaker at the 9th Annual Kent County Economic Summit, held at the Del-One Conference Center on the Delaware Tech Terry Campus in Dover.

More than 200 people attended the event, where the dominant focus among guest speakers was the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and efforts to grow Delaware’s workforce.

“We’ve got a tough job in changing and creating a different approach to economic development and competing in an economy that’s way different than it’s been in the past for our state,” said Carney, referring to the downsizing and merger of DuPont with Dow Chemicals and the loss of big manufacturing in New Castle County.

“Statewide we’ve lost a lot of those big corporate players that we relied on for so long,” said Carney. “Our economy is going to be driven by small business by innovators, by startups. And that, in large measure, has been the economy here in in Kent County for generations, and that’s why your conversation that I’m having with small businesses across the state are really important to us as we develop the government’s approach to enabling businesses to be successful.”

“Our role is to ensure that the environment is conducive to the people in this room,” said Cerron Cade, Director of the Small Business, Development and Tourism and acting director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

Cade said that great schools and the cost of living in Kent County are marketing assets in drawing new businesses to the state.

The conference was presented in collaboration with the Central Delaware Business and Entrepreneurship Consortium.

Delaware State News Editor Andrew West provided an overview of Kent County accomplishments in the last 12 months, including the recent opening of the West Dover Connector, part of a roster of $500 million in projects by the Delaware Department of Transportation in Kent County; completion of DE Turf sports complex, which could bring an estimated $20 million in economic impact to the county; and projects like the Eden Hill Rehabilitation Facility and development at the site of the old Playtex facility at the corner of Route 13 and Del. 8.

The event also included a panel of media representatives, including WBOC Digital Director Ethan Holland, iHeart Radio Programming Director Dave Hill, Darel LaPrade, publisher at the Delaware State News, and Jane Francisco of Comcast Spotlight.

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