Column: Collaboration drives local growth

ESCANABA — We are blessed to live in a generous community that supports a vibrant thriving lifestyle for everyone. Local businesses and citizens are always willing to support good causes and fun events that enrich our lives. I have seen firsthand the level of support that is shown for fundraising projects time and again. The support the community is showing for the new welcome center and museums being built on the U.P. State Fairgrounds is amazing. Thousands of dollars are being donated by local businesses and residents to finish a project that will add value to our community and drive future economic growth.

Residents and organizations ban together every day to change the area in a positive way with a variety of projects in Delta County. The Esky Cleanup, which takes place in May, is a great example of the care and pride that the community has for this special place and the willingness of people to give precious resources, like their time, for the greater good. People flood the streets to prepare the area for summer fun for visitors and residents during this cleanup event. It is a symbol of the heart our community has and the passion we share for this place. Similar community supporting events occur across Delta County year-round.

While some projects require financial donations, there are a lot of opportunities to share resources that help drive progress as well. Many businesses donate time and talents which have more of an impact than simply writing a check ever could.

At my organization, Visit Escanaba we have been very blessed with the support the business community has shown us. The value we receive from them goes beyond an amount of money that we could ever receive in a check. We are constantly looking for content to populate our social media channels and digital marketing campaigns. Local businesses step up for us with new content and ideas every day. The talented people that live and work here bring us stories, information about events, and donate resources that help us show the world what is going on in Delta County. Collaboration like this is a great resource for everyone to take advantage of.

If you are an event organizer, small business that is looking to grow, or a citizen looking to be more involved, consider finding ways to share resources with your local partners. Approach businesses and organizations with a strategy that will help them as well as support your cause. You may be able to trade resources at a much better deal than it would be to pay for them directly. Providing volunteers for events can be a great way to get donations for your organization. Connect with groups like the Delta County Chamber of Commerce to find out about opportunities to share resources with others in the community and help drive your business in a new direction.

One of the most valuable things you can do to encourage a partnership with another group is to develop some ideas before approaching them. The best collaborations that we have had at Visit Escanaba happen when a local business approaches us with a resource sharing idea that helps us both. Rarely is money exchanged but the synergy that is shared has real monetary value for both organizations. Good ideas have a lot of value and starting with a well thought out plan can mean the difference between a successful partnership and a wasted meeting.

An opportunity for you to share ideas and resources will happen soon at the Uppertunities Tourism Conference being held at the Island Convention Center in Harris on May 21. This event will bring together tourism experts from across the Upper Peninsula and the state of Michigan to collaborate on ideas that will drive the thriving U.P. tourism industry. Bring your thoughts, plans, and questions to this event and you are guaranteed to leave with more value than you will spend on the cost to attend. You will also get an update from Pure Michigan on the exiting campaigns they are rolling out, including an all new national campaign about the Upper Peninsula that will be on televisions across the country. By the way, the U.P. campaign would not be possible without the Hannahville Indian Community which contributes $500,000 to Travel Michigan for the campaign.

Thank you all for the support you show for this community. Keep sharing new ideas and ways to improve our area with your local partners and we will continue to see growth and significant economic development in Delta County. We are looking forward to a busy summer and I hope to see you at the tourism conference in Harris on May 21st. You can find out more about the conference and register on or feel free to call me if you have any questions at (906) 786-2192.

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Robert Micheau is executive director of Visit Escanaba