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The Strongest Core Yet. Economic Alliance Celebrates Greatest Membership Growth in Organization History

February 7, 2024 | Business Support, Membership

Economic Alliance Team at Annual Meeting

Membership: the driving force of all that the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance does.

A word that describes the heart of the organization. The year 2023 marks the history books as being the strongest membership growth ever in the organization’s 13-year history. 163 new members were added to the roster of the Economic Alliance membership base. The goal is always to retain, connect and grow, but this year, the uniting of so many businesses brought the greatest growth in the organization’s history. Welcoming so many new members has not only been rewarding but a reminder of the important work being done within the walls of the Economic Alliance.

Record-setting membership

In addition to a record-setting number of new members, they continue to see higher than industry average member retention. Nearly 96% of the 1,196 members renewed their membership for 2023, while chambers across the country average around 80%. To the Economic Alliance, this is much more than just a number — it is a true sign that the business community wants to unify, connect and work together more than ever. They value being that connective piece and take pride in creating relationships between members of all sizes. After all, their core purpose is to help encourage growth, serve and help all businesses succeed.

“Our team is so incredibly proud to celebrate this extraordinary achievement, but above all else we applaud the collective ‘you,’ the business community, that deserves this credit,” shares Doug Neumann, executive director of the Economic Alliance.

“This speaks volumes to a collaborative effort that recognizes the power and importance of a unified business community. We are a collective unit that is the strongest when we are all on the same page — supporting, challenging, uniting, working and growing together.”

We are connectors, advocates and supporters

Anne Laugen, membership growth specialist, has most certainly led the charge being at the forefront of bringing new members on. “Membership is the core of and reason for the Economic Alliance’s existence,” she shares. “When a new member joins the organization, it not only grows our base, but unites and connects another business into a strong group of businesses and organizations. The business community’s success is our success. I’m inspired every day to get up and help make a difference by bringing someone else aboard as an Economic Alliance member. We are connectors, advocates and supporters. The historic membership growth we had this last year fires me up and excites me for the connections that are being made in the business community!”

Welcoming new members

Debby Hudson, sales manager from Meals from the Heartland, is one of 163 new members that joined in 2023. “We joined the Economic Alliance in June. With an ultimate goal of packaging 21 million meals in 2024, I couldn’t be happier with the onboarding and welcome we’ve received from the entire Economic Alliance team!” she shares.

“I make regular trips from our Des Moines headquarters to attend new membership events, monthly BizMixes and the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market. I also meet with other members to discuss partnering in our mission of empowering people to save starving children through our Cedar Rapids Hunger Fight (CRHF) and Independent Mobile Packaging Events. The connections I’ve made through the networking events and introductions made by the Economic Alliance have been invaluable!”

Coming together as a community

Growth is not only a word that touts progression, but embodies a greater message about coming together and creating forward movement that impacts the greater good of this community and its businesses. The year 2024 promises to bring more growth, and the Economic Alliance is committed to continuing to unify the business community so that we can all succeed and grow together.

If you want to be a part of the community of businesses that have already joined the Economic Alliance, contact Anne Laugen at or 319-730-1404.