Targeted business services

In order to succeed in the New Economy, we also need to develop a set of targeted business services designed to Assist existing business; Accelerate the growth of emergent businesses; and Attract new businesses, what we call the A3 (or A-cubed) Targets.

These activities are the work of the organizations in our community that are focused specifically on business, like our chambers of commerce, economic development agency, downtown development authorities, and the organizations working with entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

• Assist

Organizations focused on business will work to strengthen the services available to help businesses by coordinating and expanding their efforts and avoiding duplication.

• Acceleration

Business organizations will focus on incubation services to assist start-ups and help small businesses grow. Top-notch assistance to young businesses may mean the difference between success and failure. We want our community to be known as one that goes the extra mile to help businesses succeed and thrive.

• Attraction

All of this requires us to think about how we focus our efforts on economic development.  In this era of scarce resources, focusing efforts in areas without the competitive advantage of our assets could be a waste of effort.

Instead, focusing on areas where we have strengths will benefit the region and result in greater prosperity. Instead of individual firms or industrial sectors, we need to focus on cooperative industrial groupings or clusters.

What is a cluster? A cluster is comprised of competitive, cooperative and complementary organizations; their presence within the same geographic proximity leads to a region where the economic vitality of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Clustering improves access to suppliers and markets, attracts new businesses and creates an ecosystem of innovation that fosters new ideas and opportunities.

The development of competitive clusters is one of the key generators of regional wealth. A cluster develops when businesses in interrelated industries choose to locate in close proximity to take advantage of a region’s inherent advantages. These businesses then become interdependent on each other, enhance their operating environments, and ultimately become more competitive on the global landscape. When this happens, these businesses become the experts in their field. They become more profitable, grow faster, and pay higher wages.

Consider these well-known clusters:
• Information technology in Silicon Valley
• Wineries in Napa Valley
• Auto manufacturing in Detroit
• Finance in New York

Targeting occupational clusters that mesh well with our assets gives us a greater chance of producing the kind of economic climate that will create sustainable prosperity.

The following areas will be targeted both in terms of expanding existing businesses and attracting new businesses to our community:

Engineering Technology & Design

Medical Sciences Research and Development

Advanced and Flexible Manufacturing

Information technology