The mission of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation (EDF) is to be a leader in creating opportunities for responsible economic investment, thereby raising the per capita income for all citizens of Lafayette County. In support of this effort, the foundation works to:
- Create jobs through the recruitment of new business and industry while working to support local business expansion.
- Be a responsible vehicle to preserve a positive business environment and create an eco-system of innovation and entrepreneurship in Lafayette County and throughout the region.
- Promote and facilitate technology transfer at the University of Mississippi into the community as a part of local entrepreneurial and business development.
- Support broad-based community efforts that improve the quality of life in Lafayette County and yield economic benefits.
Existing business and industry
EDF strives to address the needs of existing business and industry and supports retention and expansion efforts by:
- An annual visitation program focused on major existing business and industry.
- Maintaining advocacy efforts on behalf of local business and industry to maintain a positive, profitable business climate.
- Supporting efforts to expand and improve the Lafayette County Industrial Park and other infrastructure conducive to economic development.
- Hosting an annual start-up business plan competition that fosters and educates small business, technology and innovation development.
- Hosting an annual Business and Industry Appreciation Golf Tournament to thank area businesses for their contributions to the community.
- Hosting events such as plant managers and human resources managers meetings and First-To-Know Breakfasts that keep employers, EDF members and elected officials informed about current issues affecting business and community development.
Enhancement of local and regional image for business and industry recruitment
EDF promotes Oxford-Lafayette County’s local and regional image utilizing promotion strategies for business and industry recruitment by:
- Recruiting new business and industry to our area from selected target markets.
- Partnering with other development organizations within our region in recruitment and marketing efforts to secure new business and industry.
- Continuing cooperative relationships with The University of Mississippi, the Mississippi Development Authority, TVA, North Mississippi Industrial Development Association, Three Rivers Planning and Development District and other state and regional economic development agencies that complement EDF’s efforts to secure new jobs and investments.
- Serving as primary resource for objective information on economic development issues.
- Continuously refining and updating the EDF’s website (www.oxfordms.com) and marketing materials for targeted business attraction.
- Increasing regular publicity with local/regional/national media to raise awareness of Oxford-Lafayette County as an opportune place to live, work or start a new business.
- Aggressively marketing the Max D. Hipp Lafayette County Industrial Park.
EDF works to create a more skilled and productive workforce, encouraging education and training responsive to employer
- Serving as a lead advocate for workforce preparedness and job training for existing and targeted labor forces.
- Partnering with Northwest Community College to promote and support workforce training programs for local business and industry.
- Working with the Oxford-Lafayette County School of Applied Technology to develop and strengthen workforce preparedness programs.
Infrastructure and Entrepreneurship Development
EDF collaborates with local and regional partners to support innovation and job creation by:
- Working with the UM’s School of Business, Small Business Development Center and the Innovation Hub at Insight Park; together with FNC, Inc., and the Mississippi Technology Alliance in developing a comprehensive entrepreneurial Eco-system for Lafayette County.
- Continuing to participate in dialogs with the UM Office of Research, academic departments and university technologies for opportunities for business development through research spin-offs into the local economy.
- Partnering with regional counterparts and organizations/agencies to improve communication infrastructures throughout the region; including collaboration with CSpire Fiber to build a redundant system of fiber that will increase broadband capabilities in the Oxford-Lafayette County area.
- Serving as a policy advisor and marketer for the North Mississippi Enterprise Initiative, Inc. (www.northmiss.org) and working to promote the Oxford Enterprise Center as a business incubator for technology start-up businesses.
- Hosting business startup competitions and entrepreneurial challenges.
- Partnering with the City of Oxford, Lafayette County and the UM in lobbying the Mississippi Department of Transportation and area legislators for major infrastructure improvement projects.
Enhance business climate and quality of place
EDF supports efforts to strengthen local community
- Support the efforts of local government, the Oxford Tourism Council, Visit Oxford and local businesses in working to improve community infrastructure and desirability as an ideal place to visit and reside.
- Develop substantial and abundant resources that foster an environment of business growth including start-up businesses and entrepreneurial development.
- Continue to promote and maintain the successful Retiree Attraction Program that garners national recognition for Oxford as a community with an exceptional quality of life.
- Maintain a close working relationship with local school systems to support their efforts to attain the highest level of education and workforce preparation necessary for students to succeed in the workplace.
- Recruitment of industries, such as Olin/Winchester, and helped facilitate numerous business expansions generating over $160 million in investments and the creation of over 2,300 jobs.
- Facilitation of the expansion of Olin/Winchester’s Centerfire Division in 2010 with procurement of approximately 140 acres and construction of a building totaling over 422,000 square feet in the Lafayette County Industrial Park. Total investment: $100 million; total jobs: 1,000 over five years. fi
- Development of a regional business incubator network investing over $3 million in the construction of the Oxford Enterprise Center: 77,000 total square feet including completion of 1,800 square feet of wet lab space in 2010.
- Recruitment of the North Mississippi Veteran’s Home; $8 million investment and over 125 jobs.
- Ranked the fastest growing county in Mississippi from 2010-2014 at 13.45 percent.
- 27,330 people employed in the civilian labor force with 3.4 percent unemployment (April 2017) – among the lowest in the state.
- Facilitation of the purchase and development of property and construction of two speculative buildings in the Lafayette County Industrial Park.
- Facilitation of the purchase of Blauer’s SWM facility from the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors in the Lafayette County Industrial Park.
- Commitment to a working partnership with state and area business development entities to assist in attracting major business and industry investment to North Mississippi; such as Toyota in Blue Springs, MS and GE Aviation in Batesville, Mississippi.
- Provided industry expansion assistance in 2013-2014 to FNC, Inc., Blauer/SWM and Next Gear Solutions, which provided in excess of 450 jobs.
- Recruitment of over 1,335 retiree households bringing assets of over $400 million and over $44 million annually in discretionary income; with a total economic impact of over $66 million annually.
- Completion of two award-winning marketing videos (2002 and 2010) highlighting Oxford-Lafayette County’s community assets and quality of life.
- Growing national recognition for Oxford’s quality of life, and designations by numerous business and retirement news publications and media, such as: Smartbrief.com, The Wall Street Journal, Where To Retire, Kiplinger’s, Forbes, Smithsonian and Money magazines; ABC, CNBC, MSNBC and Fox Business News, as one of the nation’s top retirement destinations.
- Named the No. 2 college town in America by liveability.com in 2013.
- Ranked in the top 6 “Best College Towns to Retire in” by Grandparents.com in 2013.
- Ranked No. 17 out of 536 Micropolitan areas for 2015 by Policom Economic Strength Rankings.
- Ranked No. 15 in 2012 by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Fastest-Growing Small Towns.”
- Ranked No. 20 in 2012 by Smithsonian magazine as one of the “20 Best Small Towns in America.”
- Featured on NBC Nightly News as a retirement destination for active retirees seeking all of the benefits of university communities.
- Oxford named by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine as the No. 1 Smartest Place to Retire.
- EDF member benefits
EDF offers a tiered membership structure enabling member businesses to invest at a level of their choosing that provides them with various marketing options to promote their business and offer support for business development in Oxford-Lafayette County.
Membership at all levels includes the following benefits:
- Listing on EDF membership materials at all EDF-sponsored events with acknowledgement of your membership level.
- EDF membership plaque and decal.
- Invitations to special events with local, state and federally elected officials such as EDF’s “First-To-Know” quarterly breakfasts and Annual EDF Business and Industry Appreciation Golf Classic.
- Listing on EDF website (www.oxfordms.com) with acknowledgement of your membership level and a link to your organization’s website.
- Complimentary access to the Chamber/EDF conference room for use by your organization up to four times a year.
- Highlighted listing in the annual community guide and membership directory as an EDF member – distributed to 6,000 members, businesses, hotel guests, visitors and new residents annually.
- Inclusion in annual paid advertisements highlighting EDF members in special editions of The Oxford Eagle, Mississippi Business Journal and Delta Business Journal for business and industry appreciation.
- Weekly e-newsletter highlighting EDF/Chamber events and activities; membership highlights on EDF’s social media sites.
- Access to resource materials including maps, demographic data, business/industry lists, SBA publications, etc.