Meet Chris Fowler

For nearly a decade Chris has worked to advance the health of the Syracuse economy by helping locally-owned businesses in Central New York.

When Chris started SyracuseFirst, economic development programs and policies failed to reflect the importance of locally-owned businesses for the health of our economy and the vibrancy of our community. Chris identified a problem, saw the opportunity, and bootstrapped the entire organization. There were no large grants, no powerful family members, no allies in government to jump-start the effort. But, Chris was determined to improve his community.

SyracuseFirst, Central New York’s Independent Business Alliance, is now a network of over 400 businesses working together to address economic development and sustainability issues in the Central New York. The organization supports entrepreneurship, values placed-based businesses, and empowers community members to be part of the transformation of the economy.

Chris is passionate about educating the public and building a culture of support for local independent business.  His approach is to engage citizens in determining the future of their community. Syracuse residents are bursting with ideas for bettering the city. Now it needs a city government to help them fulfil those dreams instead of standing in the way.


Chris helps community members view themselves as citizens with a right to shape their community’s future, not merely as consumers.

You're in control, help shape Syracuse's future