The One Thing

January 28, 2013

One thing is certain in today’s economy – that no “one thing” will lead us to the growth and jobs that will sustain our communities. To provide that growth we must consider new approaches to programs and initiatives that have existed for many years, but have not been well-funded or given the priority that they deserve today.

The Columbus Region is fortunate to be working with the Brookings Institution and eight other areas around the U.S. on a metropolitan export strategy that fits each of our economies. We are currently conducting a market assessment, asking current and potential exporters to weigh in on the challenges and opportunities they see in growing their international markets. Please click here to provide your input via a short survey.

Export services are readily available at the federal and state level. However, they have been underleveraged by companies and communities because they haven’t been promoted or aligned with many traditional economic development strategies.

One in every nine jobs in the Columbus Region is supported by export activity – a number that has grown by nearly 20 percent in the past 10 years. The value of goods and services exported from the Columbus Region accounts for nearly nine percent of our metro gross domestic product. Nearly $8 billion of goods and services are exported from our market every year, and the international relationships developed through this activity can lead to foreign direct investment and powerful partnerships that lead to even greater growth.

Services are just as important as manufactured goods, evidenced by companies like OCLC and Chemical Abstracts. These two companies service clientele in dozens of countries as the need for library services and scientific information becomes more prevalent. Exports in research, engineering, finance and other knowledge industries may grow even further as the U.S. government enters trade talks with 47 countries to remove barriers in the global trade of services.

An export strategy is not the “one thing” that will lead us to the growth and jobs we seek, but it can be a powerful contributing factor. If you have an interest in this strategy, we welcome your comments.

One Columbus Update

Our team is attending the International Economic Development Council’s Leadership Summit, the German American Economic Forum in Chicago and visiting clients in Atlanta and Chicago later in the week. We are preparing for several site visits to finish a strong January.