Thursday, October 31, 2013

Supplier Envy: Southern states set sights on Michigan’s auto suppliers

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A new Brookings Institution report on the future of Tennessee’s automotive industry might make for some interesting reading for West Michigan supplier companies.

At the very least, it will make them feel wanted.

After luring auto assembly jobs south over the past couple of decades, the Volunteer State is discovering that cheap labor, attractive incentives and a business-friendly environment won’t be enough to stay competitive long term, the report noted. Assembly jobs have continued to move south, specifically to Mexico where there’s been more than $3.5 billion invested in automotive plants in recent years.

So Tennessee and its southern neighbors have looked north again and are setting their sights on the automotive supply chain, according to the report.

“They want to get what we have,” said economic developer Randy Thelen, president of Zeeland-based Lakeshore Advantage. In particular, southern states are eyeing the engineering, technology and design assets that Michigan-based automotive supplier companies have built up over the past century. More here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Even if Jaguars lose, Jacksonville hopes to win over London businesses

By Andrew Pantazi

Regardless of how the Jacksonville Jaguars fare against the San Francisco 49ers in London, city officials and business leaders hope they can persuade British businesses to move to the First Coast.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce is leading a delegation of nine people who will be courting about 20 British businesses. Most of the delegation lands in London Tuesday.

Chamber spokesman Dan Dawson said officials have been talking to business leaders already, and he thinks they’ll succeed at bringing business to Jacksonville.

“It’s going to be 100 percent economic development,” Dawson said.

Most of the trip will be spent persuading people to come to Jacksonville.

“Once folks get here and they realize, ‘Oh wow, I don’t have an hour commute. I can go to the beach anytime. The weather’s beautiful,’ it’s a pretty easy sell.” More here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

BNE to market region at D.C. forum

Buffalo Business First Reporter- Business First
 The Buffalo Niagara Enterprise will be part of a national economic development forum designed to lure foreign interests into investing in the U.S.

Tony Kurdziel, BNE business development manager, will be among more than 40 economic development specialists meeting with as many as 50 international interests in Washington, D.C. as part of Select USA’s investment summit. Select USA is a federal initiative run under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The two-day meeting takes place on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The summit is part of a directive from President Obama aimed at encouraging more investment and expansion in the U.S. by foreign companies.

For the BNE, it is a chance to put the region on the economic development radar of a potentially lucrative market.

“It’s about networking,” said Tom Kucharski, BNE president and CEO. More here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Great Lakes States Still Dominant in Auto Employment

Despite recent gains by southern states, the Great Lakes region remains the leader in automotive industry employment. The province of Ontario, Canada employs 90,000 auto workers and would rank second to only Michigan.  All GL states but Wisconsin and Minnesota rank in the top 15.  So those at Southern Business & Development who would like to characterize the Great Lakes - and Michigan in particular - as "destitute" or past its "heydey" are sadly misinformed. The magazine statement that no new assembly plants have been built in North America except in the South or Mexico since 2006, overlooks the new Honda Civic assembly plant in Indiana that opened in 2008.

Marketing of Detroit heats up despite bankruptcy

Corey Williams, Associated Press

Detroit — Convincing top executives that Detroit is a comeback city where they should hold company meetings and conventions could only be characterized as the most monumental of pitches or the slickest of con jobs.

But Bill Bohde, senior vice president for sales and marketing at the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, is plowing ahead with a $1.6 million marketing campaign even as the city is trying to become the largest in the U.S. to enter bankruptcy.

“People were inquiring: How can you talk about a great comeback city when you just filed for bankruptcy?” said Bohde, referring to the campaign’s kickoff during a trade show in Atlanta this summer.

He had to convince savvy business leaders that Detroit’s July 18 bankruptcy “filing has nothing to do with the city and the development going on right now.”

“To the general public, it is confusing,” he said.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Commerce Secretary Showcases NC Metro Areas

 Article Courtesy Piedmont Triad Partnership

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker is working with presidents of the state's three urban regional development partnerships in a concerted push to promote North Carolina to national location advisors and business media. Their initial plans call for visits with site-selection consultants and journalists in New York City in mid-November.

"It's exciting to see our largest economic regions coming together, and I'm eager to collaborate in their efforts," Secretary Decker said. Plans call for her personal participation with the presidents of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, Piedmont Triad Partnership and Research Triangle Regional Partnership in a series of outreach events in coming months. The four will promote business opportunities in North Carolina, specifically how economic assets along the "crescent" that connects Charlotte, the Triad and Raleigh-Durham can support the needs of growing, cutting-edge firms. "The high-wage jobs and high-dollar investments that power our major metro areas are the fuel for North Carolina's overall economic revival - moving the needle for us in the near-term as we reconsider the longer-range infrastructure and workforce needs of our state," Decker said. More here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

START-UPNY off and running

New York Business Journal

With hundreds of business, education and economic officials standing by, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has formally launched START-UP NY.

The program is designed to create tax-free zones to attract and grow new businesses across the state, particularly in Upstate New York.

“In a tax-free environment, no one can match what New York has to offer. Businesses that are looking to startup or expand, and most importantly create jobs, should look no further,” said Cuomo. “We are leveraging our world-class SUNY system and prestigious private universities to partner with new businesses, providing direct access to advanced research, development resources, experts in high-tech and other industries and all with zero taxes for ten whole years.” More here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Economic development players team up to improve business

by Alana Garrigues

What can the city of Hermosa Beach do to attract and retain a diverse set of high-quality businesses and boost economic development in the city? How can the business owners in downtown, upper Pier Avenue, Pacific Coast Highway and Aviation Boulevard team up to have more affluent shops, stores and restaurants that meet the needs of residents and tourists alike?

The first step in discovering answers to those questions was recently taken when the PCH and Aviation Improvement Committee met to discuss the future of their group.

The PAIC, which will morph into an ad hoc resource for the Hermosa Beach City Council, planning commission and public works commission, spent their Oct. 3 meeting talking about the future of the economic development subcommittee, chaired by resident Gila Katz. The committee identified three organizations – the PCH/Aviation Economic Development Subcommittee, a Chamber of Commerce committee and the Friends of Hermosa Beach Redevelopment – already working to improve the business climate in Hermosa Beach’s 1.4 square mile footprint. The consensus was that by working together, those organizations could have more success.

“I think the intent is all the same,” said Councilman and Committee Chair Howard Fishman. “I think at the end of the day people want to work on improving the business climate and improving the businesses in this community… so, does it make more sense to put it together? I think it does.”

Ultimately, he saw a few common threads among all of the committees.

“Everyone is looking at the same thing,” Fishman said. “It’s about attraction, retention and making this community a more desirable destination.” More here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Enterprise Florida to push for message money again

ORLANDO - Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development arm, will again ask lawmakers for $3 million to promote Florida’s business climate, the organization’s CEO Gray Swoope said Tuesday.

Lawmakers turned down Enterprise Florida’s $3 million request this year, caught up in criticism that its “orange tie” business marketing plan wasn’t inclusive of women. But Swoope says the funding is essential to getting a positive message about Florida’s business climate to executives around the globe. After missing out on state funding, he’s putting together a $1.2 million marketing campaign paid for by private businesses and local economic development organizations.

He cited the elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment as a “story that needs to be told” outside of Florida. The marketing campaign will push that message in business publications and television advertisements in the U.S. and internationally, he said.

“We’ll want to be in business publications, we’ll do mixed media. It’ll include print advertisement, it’ll include social media, it will include actually some limited television marketing. But it’s all telling our story,” Swoope told The Florida Current after speaking to a crowd at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Future of Florida Forum.   More here.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jackson County branding itself as part of Greater Ann Arbor Region

Mike Mulholland |

Jackson County is branding itself as part of a bigger region with five other counties in order to attract new businesses to the area.

The county’s economic-development agency, The Enterprise Group of Jackson, will be a part of the Greater Ann Arbor Region, a collaboration that will focus on marketing itself to company executives and site selectors who are considering expanding and building their businesses in the area.

An $80,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will be used to market the region –
which also includes Hillsdale, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties – and highlight its different industries, including manufacturing, life sciences, automotive, software and information technology.

The marketing campaign also will promote the region’s university and college system.
Enterprise Group President and CEO Tim Rogers said the collaborative will help attract more site selectors who are looking for locations where their corporate clients can move their businesses. More here.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

St. Pete leaders consider more aggressive economic development

Tribune staff

When Magna Marque wanted to open a plant to manufacture electric bikes in St. Petersburg, it talked with city officials about renting a building in the port.

At the time, city officials were hopeful of attracting a cruise liner and were reluctant to lease the building, said City Council Chairman Karl Nurse.

The Ontario-based company, instead, opened a plant in Europe. The port building is still sitting empty.

Missed opportunities such as that one have frustrated members of City Council who say the city’s economic development office does not do enough to market the city and that when businesses do come knocking, city officials are too slow to close deals.

Now, Nurse is proposing a partnership with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce to boost the marketing of St. Petersburg to companies across the United States. Under the agreement, the chamber would match any funding the city puts up to hire a marketer and negotiator, someone who could quickly close deals with businesses considering coming to the city.

Without that, the city could continue to lose out to other cities, including Tampa, he said. More here.

City debuts new logo in an effort to appeal to businesses

A new city logo is set to debut on materials meant to market Petaluma to outside businesses this October, thanks to a collaboration between the city's Economic Development Department and a group known as the Petaluma Design Guild.

The project, initiated by the city's Economic Development Manager Ingrid Alverde, was originally commissioned late last year with the intent to lure companies out of San Francisco and the South Bay and into Petaluma's growing business sector. Alverde said the city is hoping to draw more high-tech and creative businesses, as well as food producers, to town.

“We have been working to brand Petaluma as a quality destination for businesses and employees,” said Alverde. “Petaluma's strongest attributes are its quality of life, its affordable housing when compared to the rest of the Bay Area, its access to the North Bay and its focus on sustainability. We wanted to take those main points and wrap them up in a presentable package.” More here.

Tri-state cooperation? Pigs may not be flying yet, but they're trying on their wings

Three states — Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana — came together in Chicago's Loop recently to talk about their common future. They didn't decide anything, and the conversation itself revealed how far they have to go. But this meeting simply wouldn't have happened two years ago, and that's progress in itself.

The meeting attracted the often-warring governors of the three states. Not that they were all there at the same time, or even shook hands. But their presence at least endorsed the idea that the three-state Chicago region might gain more from cooperation than cut-throat competition — and that wouldn't have happened two years ago, either.

The eventual goal is to create a single, high-powered, 21-county regional economy stretching from Milwaukee south through Chicago into northwestern Indiana. Right now, the region is incredibly balkanized, with virtually no cooperation across state lines. But a major “territorial review” last year from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said this has to be reversed if Chicago and its region are to compete in the global economy. More here.

Maryland Economic Development Association promotes ‘place making’

Looking to boost your community’s economy? Consider sprucing up the town’s welcome sign, organizing an outdoor farmers market or printing T-shirts with the town name on them.

These actions and more, shared during Tuesday’s Maryland Economic Development Association fall conference in Frederick, may not directly translate into new jobs, but the sense of place they create will help deliver sustainable long-term growth. Experts—ranging from a innovative mixed-use land developer to a social branding consultant—spoke on the importance of improving place to attract higher skilled workers, foster entrepreneurship and increase an area’s overall quality of life.

“Why would anyone invest in a city that doesn’t want to invest in itself?” asked keynote speaker Ed McMahon, Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute.

McMahon discussed the importance of basic aesthetics. “Every single day in America, people make decisions about where to live, where to work, where to retire, based almost entirely on what communities look like,” he said. More here.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Dorchester branding campaign unveiled

Water Moves Us.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t and relates well to the county, don’t you think?

Well, as a matter of fact, it is the new marketing identity for Dorchester County.

At the Oct. 1 county commissioners meeting, the county’s new marketing identity was revealed; complete with a new logo, sample billboards, print and flag ads, and even water bottles.

The presentation was made to the commissioners by Keasha Haythe, the county’s Economic Development director. During her presentation, Mrs. Haythe also announced the formation of a cooperative branding campaign with the county’s Tourism Department and Chamber of Commerce.

Distributing the water bottles wrapped with the “water moves us” logo, Mrs. Haythe thanked the commissioners for providing the resources to implement the county’s strategic plan.

“More than a logo or a tagline, branding unifies and strengthens our economic development marketing efforts,” said Mrs. Haythe. “It gives us a solid foundation to build clear, consistent and compelling messages to communicate our many assets.” More here.

When will overseas trips spark jobs?

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After a trio of Muncie and Delaware County officials completed an economic development trip to China in late September, the local Economic Development Alliance issued a press release calling it a “successful” trip.

But was it? Will the trip lead to any jobs locally?

And how many years could pass before we even know?

After trips to China, Japan and Turkey in recent years, city and county officials and those from the Economic Development Alliance say the trips have generated some local jobs with the promise of more to come.

But others say that after five years of trips, something more concrete than just relationship building should be happening. There’s an undercurrent of restlessness and skepticism among local officials and business leaders who spoke privately with The Star Press. Most declined to speak on the record. More here.

Ready for Takeoff?

Pat Kimbrough
Source: The High Point Enterprise, N.C.

Oct. 05--HIGH POINT -- Could the Triad's aviation sector become the type of industrial engine that textile and furniture manufacturing used to be in the region?

Representatives of a new coalition of businesses, economic development organizations, community colleges and local governments hope so.

"Aviation Thrives Here," a marketing initiative launched in August, seeks to spotlight the aviation industry as an economic bright spot for the Triad.

The goal is to raise awareness of the industry as an economic driver and showcase job opportunities within the sector. There are at least 29 aviation companies in the Triad. The best-known are arguably those at Piedmont Triad International Airport, including Timco Aviation Services, Honda Aircraft Co. a Cessna Citation facility and a FedEx cargo hub. More here.

Officials unveil website to market Allen County

GREG SOWINSKI 419-993-2090
Lima News

LIMA — The number is astonishing, 80 percent of decisions by a company looking to open its doors in a community are made before it ever contacts local officials.

Anyone whose job it is to attract business to Allen County knows it means finding a way to reach the leaders of companies they’ve never knew were looking.

“We really don’t have much control in that decision process,” said Jeff Sprague, president and CEO of Allen Economic Development Group.

But that’s changing.

On Monday, Sprague and other local economic development officials unveiled a website aimed at marketing Lima, Allen County and the smaller towns in the community.

The website provides a wealth of information on the community along with educational videos highlighting the community’s strengths.  More here.