Friday, September 12, 2014

Global Carmakers Want India to Reform to Attract Industry

From Industry Week

NEW DELHI -- India must urgently improve its infrastructure and reform its tax, land acquisition and labor laws if it is to fulfil its ambition of becoming a leading international automotive manufacturing hub, global carmakers said on Friday.

New prime minister Narendra Modi invited investors last month to "Come, make in India" as part of a drive to create manufacturing jobs for a ballooning young population.

But automobile executives warned at the annual meeting of the country's biggest vehicle industry group that India must create a better business climate swiftly or risk losing out to emerging market rivals like China.

"India has an opportunity to build a globally competitive (automotive) industry," but to realize its full potential, the sector needs "a clear roadmap", GM International president Stefan Jacoby said.

The country needs to streamline taxes that vary state-to-state, ease rigid hire-and-fire laws and set internationally harmonized fuel-emission, safety and other norms, speakers told the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). More here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dan Gilbert pitches Detroit to Silicon Valley

By Dustin Block |

DETROIT, MI - Dan Gilbert is taking his pitch for Detroit has a tech startup city to Silicon Valley.

The billionaire owner of Quicken Loans and dozens of buildings in downtown Detroit made the case for the Motor City at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco this week.

"Detroit right now is Detroit 1914, almost," Gilbert said. "It's an extremely exciting place There is all kinds of action downtown with hundreds of technology companies and now venture capital has come in."

"It's hard to imagine if you haven't been here," Gilbert added. "I always tell people I'd rather not talk about it because whatever I say doesn't do it justice because the perception is so different from what you see on the ground there."

Gilbert tailored his pitch to the San Francisco crowd noting Detroit offers a "gold rush" of talent from the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State, affordable office space, and a Midwestern work ethic that seems cliche, but is true.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

4 reasons Tesla’s Gigafactory went to Nevada instead of California

Economic Development Reporter- Silicon Valley Business Journal
The interstate horse race for Tesla Motors Inc.’s $5 billion cleantech battery Gigafactory has come to a close with news of a deal involving a record $1.25 billion incentive deal in Nevada, dashing the hopes of business advocates in the electric car company's home state of California.

The choice of low-tax, uber-business-friendly Nevada isn't exactly surprising given cost considerations.

However, the competition for the Tesla manufacturing project expected to generate 6,500 jobs is symptomatic of much deeper economic rivalries between California and its competitors.

Nevada has been angling to poach business from California for years, from public-private organizations convened to hype the state’s zero income tax to incentive programs encouraging tech startups to set up shop in Las Vegas. And then there's the usual mockery of the Golden State's development red tape.More here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Michigan economic development group used 'secret shopper' and fake company to evaluate Michigan

By Stephen Kloosterman

MUSKEGON, MI – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation used a professional site selector and a fake business for a "secret shopper" survey of Michigan cities this summer.

"In an effort to continuously improve service to our business clients, we engaged in a secret siting activity to objectively look at how well we navigate and respond to inquiries from clients looking to locate in Michigan," MEDC CEO Michael Finney said in a written statement Thursday, Aug. 28.

The secret shopper operation started with a formal request for information from local communities, Finney said. All of the communities involved provided responses to the request in early July. Later, there were mock site visits at Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo locations, he said. More here.

California vs. Texas in fight to attract and retain businesses

When California rolled out a $750-million plan this year to attract and retain businesses, many aspects mirrored longtime perks used by Texas — where officials love nothing more than stealing jobs from the Golden State.

For more than a decade, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has touted the "deal-closing" Texas Enterprise Fund and other cash incentives as a "job-creation machine." A fifth of the companies that Texas attracted during the last funding cycle, in 2011 and 2012, were based in California.

Now California is firing back. In the state's first tax credit awards in June, more than 40% of the $29-million package went to companies that have gotten similar offers from Texas: Samsung, Petco and Amazon.
But as California embarks on a major effort to woo businesses, a decade's worth of experience in Texas raises questions about the wisdom of buying jobs from corporations with taxpayer dollars. More here.

What Cities Can Teach Marketers About Marketing

This article is by Andy Levine, president and chief creative officer at Development Counsellors International.

If you are like most consumer marketing professionals, you probably vie with three to six direct competitors on a regular basis.

But what if you had more than 30,000 competitors? That’s the number of cities and towns in the U.S. alone that are competing every day to win new corporate investment, attract both group and leisure travelers, and draw new residents to their community. Yes, it’s a tough battle.

While it may seem counterintuitive, I decided to ask the following question: What can consumer marketers learn from the people who successfully market their communities?  Put another way, what can “smart cities” and the men and women who promote them teach the private sector about marketing? As I pondered the question, six key learnings emerged: More here.

N.C. legislators vote against $20M economic development 'closing fund

Staff Triad Business Journal

Legislation that would have created a fund for the N.C. Department of Commerce to dole out $20 million in up-front cash incentives was voted down by the legislature Tuesday, according to several media outlets.

The measure, which bundled together with other provisions, including a controversial sales tax-capping regulation, failed Tuesday by a vote of 47 to 54.

The incentives would have been used to lure jobs or keep existing ones from being cut.

While proponents of the measure said it could help seal the deal for some economic development projects currently in the pipeline, critics said it was not clear how such incentives would ultimately be used.

The bill would have also expanded two other incentive programs. More here.

Megasite ‘coopetition’ rare in economic development

PANAMA CITY — In the competitive world of economic development, cooperation between states is rare.

But “coopetition” is the driving force behind the Tri-State Megasite Alliance, a 10-county effort in North
Florida and South Alabama to lure a major economic development project to Campbellton, a small town in northern Jackson County.

“For the other counties to say ‘we support this site in one county’ is really a show of what we call coopetition,” said Neal Wade, Bay County Economic Development Alliance director and project co-chair.

“It allows both states to go after an automotive project for less than if you went after it by yourself.”
Now two years into the project, the alliance has identified a 2,200-acre site near U.S. 231 in Campbellton with the right ingredients to house an auto manufacturing plant, the targeted industry for the space. More here.

County report says economic efforts 'not working'

Economic development strategies and approaches by Butte-Silver Bow and its partners are not working and dramatic changes are needed to get any real improvements, according a report from Chief Executive Matt Vincent and a group of commissioners.

The report recommends, among other things, that local government “critically reconsider” its contractual ties to the Butte Local Development Corp., the county’s designated lead organization for economic development.
BLDC Executive Director Jim Smitham said the findings are a “surprise” to him and he hopes the group and the county will maintain connections.

But, he said, “If they opt not to go that direction, we’ll still be operating and functioning.” More here.

Craven formally withdraws from economic development group

Craven County pulled out of North Carolina’s Eastern Region economic development group in January and has already deposited its $1.5 million refund.

Craven County member Mark Griffin of Dover delivered the county’s message to the group based in Kinston almost six months before the state ended by statute the NC Eastern Region for all 13 member counties. The law ended state financing of all seven N.C. regional economic development groups that were established in 1993.

But a public-private regional offshoot called NCEast Alliance seeking to replace it continues to list Craven County as a participant.

This week, Craven County Economic Development Director Timothy Downs requested that the Craven County Board of Commissioners act to formally withdraw from the Alliance with a resolution, which also asks for the rest of its money back.

Downs said that will be 10.9 percent of the total money remaining; Craven’s check is expected to be about $198,000.

Commissioners acted unanimously Monday night to make it undeniably clear that the county does not plan to join the Alliance now. More here.

Daugaard, business leaders pump up S.D. at N.Y. summit

South Dakota’s governor and economic development leaders are leading a campaign to encourage national companies to relocate to Sioux Falls.

The delegation is in New York City this week to promote the state’s largest city to financial writers in the hopes of attracting development, said Sioux Falls Development Foundation president Slater Barr.

“The real reason behind these types of visits is we recognize a disparity between the reality of crunching the numbers and the perspective of executives as to the viability of Sioux Falls and South Dakota as an attractive business location,” Barr said of efforts to attract new business. More here.