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North country business input sought for upstate economic development summit


Do north country employers believe New York is truly “open for business,” as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says?

Businesses across the state are being surveyed about whether they think Albany’s new approach to economic development has been successful. Survey results will be highlighted at an economic development summit from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in Buffalo called Accelerate Upstate 2.0, which will be available to the public as a live webcast. The online survey, which takes about 20 minutes to complete, is available at The survey is due Thursday.

Small and large businesses across the north country are encouraged to participate in the survey, said Thomas M. Murdock, senior director of Buffalo Niagara Partnership, which is hosting the summit. The survey gives a wide range of businesses that vary in size, industry and location a chance to air concerns and stories about how Albany’s approach is or isn’t working. For example, employers are asked to give the greatest challenge and greatest benefit of doing business in upstate New York. Results from businesses in different regions, including the north country, will be highlighted at the conference.

Gov. Cuomo’s creation of 10 regional councils is aimed at developing long-term strategic plans for economic growth. Even so, Mr. Murdock said, much of the government’s attention is still aimed at New York City instead of upstate. That’s why it’s important for upstate business and government leaders to collaborate to improve the region’s economy.

“We’ve put it together to get past the notion that New York City dominates at the state level,” he said. “It’s important for us to move past that as the reality and identify common strategies these regions can take together.”

Keynote speakers at the summit will include John Zogby, internationally known pollster, James McConeghy, chief financial officer of Greek yogurt giant Chobani Inc., and Joan Snyder Kuhl, a workplace talent development consultant and expert on attracting and retaining workers from the millennial generation.

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