Regions and Their Role in Business Attraction …

In a recent blog post (“Getting in the Game,” June 14, 2013) I noted that cities and towns, and not only states and provinces, are getting increasingly active in the effort to attract productive investment to their communities.

The competition is getting stiffer, of course, as more players chase investors and employers.

As if on cue, a blog post from a site location consultant now points out why it is that such consultants look to regions and metros, often before they contact states and provinces for information. In a nutshell:

  • Info is usually provided to investors in a more timely fashion
  • More targeted info and data is on hand or can be developed (employment patterns, demographics)
  • Precise info on regions within states/provinces is more helpful than broad-brush, jurisdiction-wide overviews

The blog post concludes with recommendations for economic development organizations, including states and cities. Here are there no particular surprises:

  • Know your assets
  • Build relationships with site locators
  • If you are a municipal or local econ dev organization, build relationships with your regional “EDO,” i.e., don’t put all your eggs in the state’s (or province’s) basket

This may not come as a revelation to those who are already knee-deep in the business attraction game.

At the same, I’d venture to say that many economic development organizations aren’t thinking quite as regionally as perhaps they might — particularly when, according to at least one site locator, those consultants are looking increasingly to regions for input and opportunity.

As I’ve said before, get in the game, and  take the initiative to create your own future.

Investors and employers are rarely attracted by communities (and regions) that are simply waiting to be discovered.

So let’s close with a bit of good news — it looks as if AOL is going to be establishing an accounting and financial analytics center in Orono, Maine. Both state and local partners were involved in the effort. Now that’s how it’s done!