Thursday, September 29, 2011

Consultants unveil first phase of economic-development analysis

A new economic assessment of Beaufort and Jasper counties SC by Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas, and McCallum Sweeney of Greenville paints a mixed picture.

Their report says the region lags the nation in job creation, but opportunities for growth exist. Further, a wide majority of the 530 residents surveyed support more funding for economic development. The study is the first of a three-phase analysis local leaders hope will create a framework for growth.

The consultants surveyed area residents and they gave the Lowcountry a C-minus for its economic performance over the past five years.Thirty-nine percent of respondents said job creation should be the highest priority, and 72 percent support higher funding for economic-development initiatives.

Yet many were concerned that might mean smokestacks and urban sprawl.

"Some people in the community associate economic development with a deteriorating quality of life," Avalanche's Amy Holloway was quoted as saying.  "And that's just not the case," she said. More here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who foots the bill when economic development deals fail?

State of Missouri officials and the city of Moberly spent a lot of money to lure Mamtek, a Chinese-American company that promised to bring 600 jobs to town to manufacture its groundbreaking new sweetener.

Mamtek laid off its few employees earlier this month. It left behind an unfinished manufacturing facility built with about $39 million in city bonds. The company missed its bond payments and now the the bondholders are on the hook to pay the balance.

This article highlights the mess that can be created by a lack of due diligence and points the finger at politicians "who are too eager to take credit for creating jobs and who are equally quick to wash their hands when complicated deals go bad." More here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

States, counties, cities look to compete on strengths

Economic development officials in states, counties and cities are exploring new ways to woo entrepreneurs and businesses in the flagging economy.

It's becoming increasingly difficult for states to offer high-dollar incentives because 44 states and the District of Columbia are projecting budget shortfalls totaling about $112 billion in 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported. 

More on how states are responding here.

Snyder tells Japan: Michigan welcomes talented immigrants

Michigan is breaking bad habits, not looking for fights and seeking talented immigrants as a key to rebuilding the state's economy, Gov. Rick Snyder said today at the Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference.

Snyder also is meeting with other Midwest governors from Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa in Japan to discuss how all the states can cooperate on some policy issues, "especially protecting the Great Lakes from invasive aquatic species," he said in an interview. More here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hudson Valley EDC takes marketing national

The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation has launched a new national marketing camis going after companies from coast to coast considering relocation with a marketing campaign called “Choose NY Hudson Valley.”

The effort targets site selectors, property management companies and businesses looking to relocate.The group's attraction efforts are aimed at nine target industries including biotech and pharmaceutical; datacenters; distribution, film production, financial services; food and beverage; green tech; semiconductors; and tourism and hospitality.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

C-Level Execs Give Thumbs Up to Carolinas, Texas

As states battle for corporate nods to gain more jobs, the Carolinas and Texas have the best business climates in the nation, according to a new survey of 322 U.S. executives.

The "Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing" survey is conducted every three years by New York-based Development Counsellors International. Texas led the pack with 49.4 percent of the nods, with North Carolina ringing up a 27.8 percent approval rating and South Carolina, 14.3 percent.
Corporate executives labeled California, New York and Illinois as the states with the least favorable business climates.

"With the battle for business more intense than ever, states and their economic development organizations need to pay close attention to the results of this survey," said DCI President Andrew T. Levine. "Whether accurate or misguided, perceptions about a location's business climate often play a crucial role in site selection decisions and where companies invest money and create jobs."

Of the survey's respondents, 46 percent said a location decision would be made in the next two years and 51 percent said they'd outsource a portion of the site selection process to a real estate broker or consultant. The real decisions covered the entire spectrum - relocation, expansion or consolidation of a manufacturing plant, offices, distribution center or other facilities.

This year, executives favored Texas and the Carolinas for their low operating costs and pro-business climate whereas three years ago the availability of a strong workforce was the leading reason.

Texas and North Carolina have consistently landed in the top spots since the survey began more than a decade ago. Texas has been in first place since 1999 while North Carolina has been second since 2002. South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida have frequently traded top positions in the survey and 2011 marks the return of South Carolina to third place.

California, New York and Illinois were faulted for the taxation levels, high costs and anti-business climate/regulation, according to respondents.

The survey polled C-level executives at companies with annual revenues of $25 million or more. The survey was augmented by 250 location advisers/consultants. A free copy of the full "Winning Strategies" survey is available at

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't forget Austin in recruiting jobs, report says

By Kirk Ladendorf

When the experts go looking for new jobs to bring to Austin, California is a prime hunting ground.

But an economic development consultant advised the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce that another important source of job growth is already here: companies that are doing business in town right now.

Those companies also need to be recruited to expand here, and their business concerns need to be addressed, consultant Market Street Services Inc. of Atlanta concluded in an updated report on Austin's economic development strategy. More here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

State mulls deal-closing fund to woo jobs

By Tim Logan • > 314-340-8291

Talk to people involved in economic development in Missouri, and it won't be long before you hear this lament: "Texas can write checks to companies to get them to move there."

So can Georgia and Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, Florida and other states.

If a bill moving through the Legislature becomes law, Missouri, too, will be able to write those kind of checks.
Actually, not checks literally — the Missouri Constitution prohibits that. Instead, one piece of the massive jobs bill at the heart of the special session in Jefferson City would establish a new pool of tax credits that the state could offer to companies that pledge to generate jobs here. Unlike the rest of Missouri's menu of incentives, it could offer the credits upfront, before the first job has been created.

More here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Economic Development Coalition pushes Tri-State advertising campaign

The Evansville area has brainy students, a ready workforce and plenty of "swagger," according to a nationwide marketing campaign currently being rolled out by the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana.

The campaign includes postcard mailings, emailings and a website aimed at commercial real estate agents, site selectors and more than a thousand companies.

Information for the campaign was gleaned from a recently completed economic development study commissioned by the economic development group.

The purpose of the study, which was funded by a federal grant, was to identify the area's strengths and weaknesses, its best prospects for economic growth and the companies that might be most interested in investing here.

The study was conducted by Atlanta-based Garner Economics and Newmark Knight Frank of Chicago. Carmel, Ind.-based Applied Marketing compiled the target list of companies and individuals.

More here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just How Bad Is 'Jersey Shore' for New Jersey's Brand?

MTV's "Jersey Shore" was given a $420,000 tax break from New Jersey's Economic Development Authority this week, and most local politicians were upset, except for the mayor of Seaside Heights where the cast members llive and work.

Many think the show's debauchery hurts New Jersey's image and diverts attention from the state's attractive qualities, branding and tourism experts said. Facing budget shortfalls, many states have slashed their tourism marketing budgets, and New Jersey made a $2 million reduction in 2010, increasing the challenge of marketing the state. More here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mississippi's potential outlined in new Blueprint

A new study by Mississippi's state chamber of commerce says the state can use its creativity to grow jobs and foster a new sense of entrepreneurship in a business climate that supports diversity.

Supporters of the plan, dubbed, "Blueprint Mississippi 2011" will receive a second report that outline how to achieve the goals over the next ten years.

Recommendations include improved communication between the public and private sectors, cultivating diversity through community cooperation and racial reconciliation, expanding the state's economic base and improving education.

"The potential this document has is unbelievable. Now's the time for the real work to begin," said state Commissioner of Higher Education Hank Bounds, who chairs Blueprint Mississippi.

More here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New development councils start "urgent" work

After months of planning, New York's regional economic development councils have begun their work on Governor Cuomo's new idea to revive new York's economy.

Cuomo is pushing a fast-track approach that pits regions across New York against each other in a competition for state funding.

At the heart of Governor Cuomo's plan is the creation of 10 new regional economic development councils. Their task is to come up with a five-year economic plan for their region. Each council's plan will compete against other regions' for a billion-dollar pool of state funds.

Each regional council has about 30 volunteer-members, chosen by the governor's office. They include local leaders, in business, higher education, labor and elected officials. They have until November 14th to come up with their plans. Following that, a panel of economic experts will review and rank the plans, and money will be awarded to winning regions.

The Manhattan Institute's Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany believes the effect of councils will be marginal at best. More here.

City says it will fight for Chiquita

Cincinnati officials vowed to fight back Tuesday as cities like Charlotte and Miami try to lure Chiquita Brands International to relocate its corporate headquarters.

Charlotte news sources reported terms of a $4 million city, county and state incentive package that may soon be offered to the international marketer of fruits and vegetables, which employs 330 high-paid workers headquartered in a namesake building on Fifth Street downtown.

More here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nevada Governor Making Strides On Top Priority Of Job Creation

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval recently said he is making big strides in his top priority of improving the Nevada economy and growing jobs.

The governor has been making calls to businesses interested in relocating to the state and is launching a newly revised economic development board to help the state.

Sandoval said a key element of implementing his jobs strategy is a study being conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Stanford Research Institute, which will look at which economic development sectors the state should focus its efforts on.

More here.

Friday, September 09, 2011

New Collier economic development plan sets ‘big, bold aggressive goals’

A private consultant hired to evaluate economic development efforts in Collier county says there are serious gaps in the way economic development is handled there and that big changes are needed.
The draft strategic plan for economic development calls for new structures, new roles, new responsibilities, new leadership and a new shared vision for economic development.

It was prepared by Jim McGraw, the CEO of Ohio-based KMK Consulting Co.

More here.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

It's Liverpool marketing campaign launched

Public and private sector companies in Liverpool are joining together in a bid to change the image of the city.

More here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Alpharetta City Council Calls Economic Development Plan 'Sloppy'

Alpharetta, Georgia City Council members refused to accept an economic development plan from Market Street Services that cost the city $100,000.

A council member called the plan sloppy and a cut-and-paste job during the council's meeting on Sept. 6. Market Street's CEO, Mac Holladay, presented the plan at a joint City Council-Planning Commission work session on Aug. 29.

Staff was directed to get Market Street to update the report and bring it back to City Council for possible approval.

More here

Certified megasite marketing shifts to high gear

Baldwin County, Alabama officials are optimistic that they will land a major manufacturer on a 3,000-acre certified megasite.
Baldwin County commissioners recently voted to extend the options on the property for a year. A "diverse and comprehensive" marketing effort is under way.

McCallum Sweeney Consultants delivered the certification in May, based on the size of the site, available rail and four-lane highway access, work force and utilities. the certification requires that government or recruiters maintain either ownership or purchase options.

More here.

Dysfuntion in Flagler over a unified economic strategy

Flagler County Florida's will see its economic development program end officially this month, the victim of a breakdown in communication and cooperation between governmental and business interests.

Flagler County was the poster child for growth and prosperity in the middle part of the previous decade. New residents poured into the county from surrounding areas as well as New England, New York and the Midwest. Flagler County had almost full employment -- a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in July 2006.

But now, with county unemployment at 14.7 percent -- one of the state's highest rates -- the local newspaper ccalls for county and city officials from Palm Coast to Bunnell to get their act together, and fast on a new and unified push for economic development.

More here.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Collier to reshape EDC as critics question if it’s done its job creating jobs - POLL

Amid criticism from some local residents, the Collier County, Florida EDC is is moving forward with a new job creation plan.  Local residents and business leaders have had a chance to have a say about the plan and are invited to provide input again at a meeting on Sept. 23, when a consultant will present his final recommendations.

More here.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Louisiana's business climate profile on rise

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret said the state's rising business climate profile, both through tangible reforms and perception, has given the department a stronger platform to attract new jobs and companies.

Moret said Louisiana has climbed into the top half of business climate state rankings in virtually all media outlets that measure such rankings and near the top in some of them. His own agency was most recently ranked No. 1 in business recruitment by Site Selection magazine.

More here.