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Economic Development

The Lafayette County-Oxford-University community is thriving and continues to be a focal point for education, the arts, health care and excellence in the quality of life for its citizens. The Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation (EDF) is committed to enhancing local businesses, supporting industrial growth and expansion and maintaining the quality of our community.

Leaders in our community continue to make sound and sustainable economic growth a priority. Working diligently with the EDF, our Oxford mayor and board of aldermen, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors and the chancellor of the University of Mississippi focus on improving our community’s image, business climate and infrastructure. Quality job growth is considered essential to our future. We look forward to continued growth and prosperity, preserving the past but looking to the future.

Many of the positive steps taken by our leadership have been in support for both the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation. Our Chamber of Commerce spearheads programs to support the interests of our small business community and matters that enhance the quality of life in Oxford. Our economic development foundation, a public-private partnership, is organized to create jobs and investment and usually involve projects that have a major impact over longer periods of time. It exemplifies the strength and capabilities of a marriage between governmental and private sectors in helping to make major community initiatives become a reality. Its mission is to be a leader in creating opportunities for responsible economic investment, thereby raising the per capita income for all citizens of Lafayette County.

The EDF works to promote and sustain Oxford’s outstanding quality of life through its successful Retiree Attraction Program, with a total economic impact of over $66 million annually. Equally important is the cultivation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The EDF regularly hosts business startup competitions and entrepreneurial development programs that maintain the growth of the community while preserving the traditional values and charm that have been the hallmark of our success for many decades.

Some of the EDF’s focused efforts include:

• Developing the remaining available acreage at the Lafayette County Industrial Park to facilitate the expansion of existing industries and the attraction of new ones.

• Creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by maintaining the viability of our existing businesses and creating more current, technology-based jobs through the development of the Big Bad Business Series and Entrepreneur Challenge Program.

• Assisting and offering support for community-based initiatives that strengthen Oxford’s creative economy and enrich its quality of life.

• Continued support for the North Mississippi Enterprise Initiative, a system of three regional business incubators located in Oxford, Batesville and Grenada; that encourage and support new business startups.

• Promoting business development by partnering with the University of Mississippi to market its services to business and industry through the UM’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence and the new Innovation Hub at Insight Park.

We have recently completed our comprehensive plan for the City of Oxford that will guide our development through 2037. An additional, county-wide comprehensive plan has begun that will compliment and support the comprehensive plan for the city of Oxford. Both plans call for sustainable growth within a framework that recognizes our community’s strengths as well as its weaknesses. The EDF continues to work to preserve the economic viability of the Lafayette-Oxford University community by supporting regional economic and community development efforts that benefit Oxford and its neighboring counties.

As we look to the future we want to attract the types of businesses that focus on the specialized skills being taught by Mississippi colleges and universities. Specifically we want to attract the jobs that employ engineers, life science research scientists, pharmaceutical specialists, natural products research, industrial managers, information technology experts and jobs that foster entrepreneurial development.

Our community is experiencing unprecedented growth in new construction, investment and business development. The results of decades of our efforts include:

• The recent expansion of Olin-Winchester Corporation’s operations; adding another 500,000-square-foot building and bringing over 1,000 new jobs to the area demonstrates the quality of our workforce.

• The development and growth of technology companies such as FNC, Next Gear Solutions and mTrade, which have created over 400 technology jobs in Oxford. Each of these companies started in Oxford, and now have global sales.

• We are ranked in the top three percent of over 530 U.S. Micropolitan areas in terms of economic strength year after year by the Policom Corporation.

• Earned a rating of Gold in the TVA Sustainable Community program. This program recognizes sustainable practices in respect to economic development.

• A growing number of retail establishments, restaurants and businesses – especially around the town square have resulted in 51 percent growth in retail sales between 2010 and 2015.

• We are ranked as the “Smartest Place to Retire” by Kiplinger’s personal finance in 2014.

• Smithsonian magazine ranks Oxford among “The 20 Best Small Towns in America,” (April 17, 2012, Smithsonian magazine).

• Featured on NBC Nightly News as a retirement destination for active retirees seeking all of the benefits of a university community.

We invite you to learn more about the Economic Development Foundation of Oxford and Lafayette County by calling

(662)234-4651, or through our website at www.oxfordms.com.

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