On November 10, 2020 the County of Mendocino hosted a progress update on MOVE 2030. MOVE 2030 is the acronym for Mendocino Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy. The goal of this ambitious work is to convene and connect residents, organizations, educational institutions, nonprofits, and government leaders to collaborate on the development of an economic resiliency plan that will be a guide to building a more robust economy in Mendocino County over the next 10 years. 

The first phase of the MOVE 2030 project was to capture new data on industries, multipliers, and economic trends for our region. The second phase was to gather community stakeholder ideas for projects and programs that would stimulate the economy and would be driven by community action.  The purpose of the November 10 meeting was to assess the community economic action plan, which was formulated through a community-driven process throughout the fall of 2020. The action plan initiative began with a virtual meeting of over eighty community leaders (activists, business owners, representatives, nonprofit managers, educators, etc.), which resulted in the formulation of four Action Teams focused on: 

  1. Entrepreneurial growth and business expansion

  2. Diversification of the county economy 

  3. Increasing technology education and furthering its adoption

  4. Creating a more sustainable infrastructure

Over a two-month period each Action Team identified challenges, developed and prioritized solutions, and then detailed those solutions into a document outlining action items with achievable tasks. Action Team participants came from a mix of business, government and the nonprofit sector, and include business owners, the employed and the self-employed.  As a consequence, this action document captures the input of many voices and diverse backgrounds advocating for strategies that are grounded in the reality of team members’ knowledge, skills, and connections. This non-traditional approach resulted in a truly “Mendo Made†document that offers both practical solutions as well as a couple of very ambitious efforts/ideas, and many little gems not normally found in a typical economic development study.  

Given the impact of Covid-19 on the local economy and the long-term effect it will have nationally there can be no better time to work on these plans. The ideas generated from the Economic Action Items have the potential to create lasting positive economic change.  However, to move these plans forward, public and private partners will need to collaborate on the implementation. Some keys to success will include:

  • County and City Collaboration Local governments will need to actively work together on several action items, particularly those involving regulatory change to support community and business development. 

  • Business Community Activation Industry and business groups should involve themselves in shaping and supporting the implementation of action items. Stimulating the next wave of entrepreneurs now will have a long-tail effect on our economic prosperity.

  • Nonprofit Organization Coordination  The County of Mendocino has over 1,200 not-for-profit organizations that serve every level of the community. Coordination to identify potential for collaboration, minimize duplication of efforts, and maximize effectiveness would build a stronger safety net for all. 

  • Dedicated Funding Processes  Dedicated funding will help move this action plan forward over time.  Using the community action plan as a guide, stakeholders should coordinate efforts to seek out grant funds to implement multiple projects.

Growing a rural economy in any decade is hard but now, as we live through this age of COVID, the effort it takes to remain focused on the task will be challenging and intense. An effort of this magnitude will require ongoing coordination at:

  1. The leadership level through the MOVE 2030 Steering Committee

  2. At the Action Team level, and

  3. At the staff level with nonprofit, governmental, and business partnerships

We applaud the efforts and ideas generated from the community. The work now begins. If you can help in any way, then consider getting involved: chair a team, provide resources, convene people, provide funds. The next decade will be pivotal for our county. Your assistance now is vital for our future growth.

Action Team meetings: Click here.