Christa O. Franzi, CEcD
Vice President + Director of Entrepreneurship
As Vice President and Director of Entrepreneurship, Christa brings more than 10 years of experience helping public sector clients connect with, understand, and support local business leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs. She has designed and led business engagement efforts for communities large and small and has a talent for creative problem solving to meet business needs. Christa is passionate about creating inclusive places where entrepreneurs and new businesses of all types, from all backgrounds, thrive.
As the chair of the Northeastern Economic Developers Association’s Communications Committee, she worked to completely restructure the organization’s communications strategy and was selected as Member of the Year for her efforts. Christa is also called upon for much of Camoin’s marketing and communications strategy. She holds an undergraduate degree from SUNY Oneonta and a Master’s in Geography and Environmental Planning from Binghamton University.
Building a Larger Tent for Entrepreneurs | City of Fort Worth, TX | Christa worked with the City of Fort Worth, TX, on their Small Business and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Assessment and Strategy, which was designed to overcome the city’s lack of a robust entrepreneurial network by recognizing and owning the city’s “small town” culture, pushing boundaries to open doors wider, and offering a “hand-in” to minority business owners and entrepreneurs who are currently underrepresented and under supported.
Infusing Vitality into Commercial Corridors | City of Syracuse, NY | Christa led an innovative, place-based project to revitalize ten commercial corridors in the City of Syracuse. This was a significant project for Syracuse, and Christa’s ability to see into the complexity of the initiative and design straightforward actionable solutions was crucial. She helped the City revamp its internal structure and deepen implementation partner relationships.
Becoming an Innovation Hub by Disruptive Doing | City of Middletown, CT | Christa served as project manager for Middletown’s Innovation Places planning process, where she worked with the committee to develop a bold vision: to become the innovation hub that links and energizes Southern Connecticut’s innovation ecosystem. The community has implemented several of the recommended projects, including a co-working space and entrepreneurial support network.
Economic Development Strategy and Marketing Plan for N-Squared Innovation Corridor | Newton and Needham, MA | Christa supported the overall strategy development and led the marketing and communications effort to support the establishment of a new innovation corridor in this affluent and highly educated Boston sub-region. The marketing strategies have led to several business attraction wins for the corridor.
Making the Case for Downtowns | Connecticut Main Street Center | Christa served as project manager for a comprehensive project researching the economic value of high-density downtowns. The report, “Connecticut Downtowns Matter. Here’s Why.”, presents the results of national research as well as the case studies for three Connecticut communities all making the case for why investment in downtowns is vital for Connecticut’s economic resiliency today and into the future. Connecticut Main Street Center is currently using this body of work to make the case to state, regional, and local officials for continued investment in the state’s main streets and urban centers.
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