Is your community ready for the next opportunity? Part 2
strategy for successful economic development growth and attraction.
Is your community ready for the next opportunity? What happens when the next big business investment opportunity arises for your community? Do you have someone or an organization that will take an active lead role in fostering that investment? If not, who does that for your community?
Whoever is responsible, it is everyone’s role to take part to ensure long term viability and economic sustainability of your community.
In Part 1, we discussed some of the key organizations and/or individual with a direct role in business attraction, growth and retention on a daily basis. In this part, we will offer a few suggestions for additional strategies to assist in by increasing local capacity while engaging others not directly involved in these activities daily.
Form an ‘E’ Team
Identify key stakeholders and have a meeting. Key stakeholders such as city officials, chamber staff, DDA or TIFA staff, key influential leaders in business, health care, education, and finance from the community, as well as others who bring value and can help serve as an ambassador for your community.
Serve as and promote the “Ambassador” philosophy
It is important that everyone within a community serve as an ambassador of the community. Communities who have citizens with great pride in their hometowns will attract a more positive reaction from visitors and potential investors, encouraging longer stays, thus more economic impact.
It is critical to continue the conversation at the local level. It is also imperative that future needs, dreams, wants, desires and plans are discussed. Also, by keeping the conversation relevant and outcome focused, the potential for reduction of commitment will be diminished.
It is critical to build local capacity when it comes to economic development. This is not only by way of incentives, capital, workforce, training, inventory, etc., but more importantly having a proactive team ready to go at a moment’s notice will allow your community to rise above those who do not. Take the lead for your community.
Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.