The meeting format was somewhat different than a standard Council or Commission meeting. The following meeting objectives provided a basic outline for the joint study session:
Introduction & Economic Profile of Emeryville OBJECTIVE: understand the economic context
Overview of small business support programs OBJECTIVE: understand the competitive environment and identify best practices
Overview of regional and state small business support programs OBJECTIVE: avoid duplication of efforts and identify opportunities for leverage
Listening session OBJECTIVE: determine business community needs and priorities
Conclusion/recap OBJECTIVE: list action items
Following a “Networking Lunch”, the well-attended joint study session began with a brief overview of existing programs and those in development at this time. The majority of the meeting was be devoted to a “Listening Session” where business owners and members of the public were invited to provide constructive comments regarding the challenges and opportunities they saw in starting or doing business in Emeryville. The goal was to collect ideas that could help make businesses more successful, hear what challenges the community faces and ideas for overcoming those challenges.
At future Planning Commission and City Council meetings, staff will return with a distilled version of the items heard at the Joint Session. At that time, staff will seek confirmation and prioritization of topics; and direction for further study and action as appropriate by the EDAC, Planning Commission, City Council, and staff.