Demand and Economic Development

July 15, 2013

Forget about the business outlook, be on the outlook for business.

-Paul J. Meyer

Economic development is a broad field. It includes functions and organizations at the federal, state, regional and local level. It includes those organizations that market the community, facilitate and connect businesses with resources and the workforce, financial technicians, and public and private development leaders. When all of these elements work together great things can occur and the economy moves forward. When one or two of these elements are not working properly because of the economy itself or because “the system” isn’t working, development stalls and so do opportunities for hard working people.

Although all functions are interdependent at some point, there must be an opportunity generated before the system can spring into action. Just as the corporate sales team must consistently deliver for a company to sell its services or goods, the economic development system must have a voice that builds a positive reputation.

The foundation of a sound economic development strategy entails two key actions. First, listening to actual businesses about their opportunities and challenges, and creating resources to help them or connecting them to resources that already exist. Second, telling your community’s story. It can appear simple, but to articulate a true value proposition takes research, preparation and a lot of practice.

Economic development is increasingly competitive. Communities, regions and states concentrate a lot of resources to market and promote their areas through websites, advertising, media relations and direct calls to site selectors and business leaders. Why is this important? Because businesses have choice, and capital flows to where it can be have the most impact and create the most profit.

If your community is going to create demand, it must listen for business opportunity and consistently articulate its value proposition in order to have a chance to compete for the opportunities that create jobs and wealth.

One Columbus Update

  • Congratulations to Niagara Bottling, JobsOhio and the City of Gahanna on the opening of Niagara’s new plant in Gahanna. This $50 million dollar investment in the Columbus Region has resulted in more than 80 jobs so far.
  • Our team is in Chicago today and tomorrow, visiting with an international corporate venture investor and a venture capital firm.
  • Later this week, we’ll meet with the One Columbus Board of Directors, where we’ll take a look back and the first half of the year and a look ahead at what’s to come in 2013. We’ll also join NAIOP for a program on trends in the logistics industry and how the Columbus Region is positioned to win new investment.
  • The June 2013 Monthly Economic Update is released and available for download here.