Christa O. Franzi, CEcD

Vice President and Director of Entrepreneurship

Phone: 518-899-2608, Ext. 109

As Vice President and Director of Entrepreneurship, Christa brings more than 15 years of experience helping public sector clients connect with, understand, and support local business leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs. She has designed and led economic development initiatives for communities large and small and has a unique talent for creative problem solving.

As an Ambassador for Right to Start, she is a catalyst for positive change, breaking down barriers and expanding entrepreneurial opportunities for all. Christa is passionate about creating inclusive places where entrepreneurs and new businesses of all types and business owners from all backgrounds, thrive. She firmly believes that fostering a diverse range of talents and perspectives is not only the key to innovation but also vital to building sustainable and resilient communities.

Christa’s enthusiasm for this work extends to educating aspiring economic developers, as evidenced by her role as the course director for the NYS Basic Economic Development Course. She holds an undergraduate degree from SUNY Oneonta and a Master’s in Geography and Environmental Planning from Binghamton University.

Christa Franzi

Real Results

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.