Brad Broadwell Special for Citizen
The Cambridge Dictionary defines economic development as “the process by which an economy develops or changes and becomes more advanced, especially when economic and social conditions are improved”. Going a little deeper, it also refers to the process by which the overall health, well-being, physical environment, and educational abilities of the general population improve. For some economic developers, it’s all about jobs. Then there are others like me who want to increase tax revenue and create jobs, but understand that building a sustainable community is best.
In order to foster strong state, regional or national economies, economic developers should always assess local and national strengths and weaknesses, labor force needs and trends, national and global supply chain needs. supply/corporate and, most importantly, federal and state government legislation or guidelines support.
If you’ve followed economic news across the country, you’ll understand that despite periodic downturns in our economy over the past 50 years, a number of regional economies have prospered, whether the national economy was on the rise or she collapses miserably. . Tech economies such as Austin, Seattle, Boston, Raleigh, Washington, DC and the San Francisco Bay Area avoided downturns.
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What exactly does all of this mean for Cayuga County? I know we are not those cities/regions, and we don’t have the range of assets they can draw on, but we do have our own assets. If we choose to work together, we can compete for some of these high-paying tech jobs.
Cayuga County’s current strong sectors are agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. I’m not suggesting a change in focus or support for who we are and what we do well. What I’m advocating is looking for opportunities to use our community assets to attract capital into one of the ever-growing tech industries to strengthen our local economy, build our ability to cope with highs and downturns in our country’s economy. , and provide great jobs now and for decades to come.
Through my own career and work experience, I have witnessed the dramatic increase in technology jobs and direct investment in North Carolina’s Research Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill). I worked to develop, on behalf of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, a strategy for attracting clean technologies (“cleantech” is an umbrella term referring to a wide variety of environmentally friendly practices and technologies), which was created and deployed to move or attract businesses from around the world to Raleigh. In a five-year period that I worked as an economic developer, the cleantech sector grew by 24.4% annually, adding $4.6 billion to gross regional product . This has added to the strength of our sector in advanced manufacturing, agricultural technology and life sciences.
If you don’t know what a cluster is, let me help you. A cluster represents a geographical concentration of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field. Common components include a variety of small companies or startups, a few medium-sized companies, one or two large companies, and often research universities and other government organizations involved in its ongoing development.
So what do we need to create a successful cluster strategy?
There are many facets to this response, but successful economic development programs understand the weaknesses and capacities of their community. Most cluster development strategies rely on entrepreneurs, strong partnerships with local/regional universities, a reliable and well-trained workforce, and a sustainable community. Perhaps the easiest, yet most difficult goal to achieve is to get the whole community to recognize its strengths and where it can compete in a global marketplace. This is what we will do at the Cayuga Economic Development Agency, discussing and strategizing how Cayuga County can identify and refine its value proposition for the region as well as the rest of the country. , in order to attract the jobs and the workforce that we so desire. .
Watch Now: Meet Cayuga County’s New Economic Development Leader
Brad Broadwell is the CEO of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency. He can be reached at (315) 252-3500 or [email protected]