Sunday, November 10, 2013

3 Economic Development Trends that are Closer than they Appear

Fourth Economy Consulting

The practice of economic development is like driving using only the side view mirrors – you can’t even see exactly where you’ve been, but you can see the edge of the path you’ve been taking.  We try to guide ourselves forward with tools that are built for where we’ve been. Part of this rear-view navigation results from using a lot of tools that were developed to fix the problems of the past.  But it is also because we have very little useful predictive information about the future.  The majority of economic data is old.  If we have any information about what happened even a month ago, it is somewhere between a guesstimate and an approximation of the actual conditions.

By the time we manage to collect and verify the best information we can get, it is still incomplete and its shelf-life is expired. makes a poster, “Economics:  The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn’t come true today.”

So while we can’t do a very good of predicting where the economy is headed, there are some trends coming up in our side view mirrors that are closer than they appear, or already passing by.

1) The evolution of cluster strategies

2) Regions are all the rage! 
3) The new Walking Dead 

More here.

Florida gives economic development spotlight

Written by on October 30, 2013

Florida has taken a more active role in pursuing economic development in the past few years, the state’s Secretary of Commerce and President and CEO of Enterprise Florida says.

Gray Swoope, who was keynote speaker at the Beacon Council’s annual meeting Thursday, said that for many years Florida had an economy that would allow the state to sit back and not be aggressive. He worked in Mississippi, where he is originally from, and said that at the time he didn’t see Florida as an active player looking for businesses outside of the state or out of the US.

“That changed in 2008,” Mr. Swoope said, with the economic recession. And, he said, since he took over in 2011 the state organization has become much more aggressive in seeking business growth. More here.

Cities turn to streetcars to spur economic development

Written by USA Today

Tucson has built four-mile-long streetcar tracks that will run between the University of Arizona campus and downtown. Only two of the eight cars that will be used to ferry passengers every 10 minutes have arrived, and operations will not start until next year.

But local business leaders say the streetcar has already revived the center of this sprawling, artsy city of 524,000. Roughly 150 businesses have opened their doors along the route in the last five years, and the once-dormant area is in the middle of a $230 million construction boom, according to the Downtown Tucson Partnership. The group estimates that 2,000 jobs have been created or relocated to the area.

"The fact that Tucson could reinvent itself in the middle of the worst recession to hit the state since 1928 is astonishing," said Michael Keith, CEO of the downtown group.

It is a common theme among city planners from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Seattle, as younger workers flock to areas where cars are not needed for daily living. Cities as big as Los Angeles and as small as Norfolk, Va., are turning to streetcars and light rail lines to tie together neighborhoods, attract businesses and lure residents.

"They help drive development. They help create a sense of place. They help shape your community… and bring a vitality to your community. It's a combination of all of those factors," said Art Guzzetti, vice president for policy for the nonprofit American Public Transportation Association, which advocates for public transportation. More here.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Minneapolis-St. Paul makes relocation pitch to Delaware North

Buffalo Business First Reporter- Business First
The local controversy concerning tax breaks for Delaware North Cos. has caught the eye of out-of-town site selectors, some of whom have started making their pitches to one of the region’s largest, privately held companies.

Among those: David Griggs, vice president of business investment and research for Greater MSP in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Greater MSP is the Twin Cities' economic development marketing and recruiting agency, much like the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. More here.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

GTDI will push regional economic development

Southern Georgian Bay municipalities need to work together to promote the region as a great place to do business, or risk missing out on a huge economic development opportunity.

The Georgian Triangle Development Institute (GTDI) will be pushing for local municipalities to work collaboratively after a recent regional economic development forum held at the Toronto Ski Club.

The forum heard that in June of 2011, an economic development strategy for South Georgian Bay was completed and accepted by all four municipalities in the region, however, to date, the strategy is not being implemented.

The GTDI is concerned that although the South Georgian Bay region is Ontario’s only four season destination recreational area, with the best lifestyle, great communities, services and attractions, available land and housing, and a good population base, it is not effectively selling the power of the South Georgian Bay region as a place for business.

“By not doing so, we are missing opportunities to attract great labour force talent, new small
businesses, support existing small business growth and attract sources of funding to do so,” said the GTDI in a statement at the close of the forum. More here.

Buffalo development ramps up; site selector says keep it going

Buffalo Business First Reporter- Business First

An impressive array of projects helped fuel the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise to another “better-than-expected” year, but a national site selector warned the region should not get too complacent with its recent streak of positive economic development news.

The BNE, at its annual meeting, said that it played a role in helping bring 10 new companies to the region, or assisting others in their expansion efforts. The companies, collectively, created 522 new jobs while retaining another 1,003 jobs. Those gains represent $253.21 million in new private-sector investment and have a total regional economic impact of $324.55 million.

The 14-year-old Buffalo Niagara Enterprise is the region’s economic development marketing agency. Its staff not only has put the region on the map of many site selectors, they also help craft incentive packages to bring new investment to the area. More here.