Friday, September 28, 2007

EDC Welcomes Madison Silvert, October 1

On Monday the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. will welcome Madison Silvert as the organization’s first-ever vice president focusing solely on entrepreneurs, high growth and high tech business development. For a review of Silvert’s background, click here to read Keith Lawrence’s Messenger-Inquirer article about him being named to the position.

Silvert will head the newly formed Emerging Ventures Center of Innovation, part of EDC’s “Grow the Future” partnership. As this work begins to take shape, we will include several entries reviewing the “Grow the Future” partnership.

Grow the Future- Part 1: Home Grown Strategy to Make Owensboro Place “Where Entrepreneurs Grow”

At the August Rooster Booster Breakfast the EDC and Chamber of Commerce unveiled a new partnership working to make Owensboro a place “Where Entrepreneurs Grow.” The partnership includes agencies, schools, colleges, and economic development organizations called “Grow the Future” to support homegrown high growth companies competing in a global marketplace. The partnership is the result of months of planning and discussion with local entrepreneurs about the benefits and barriers to doing business in the region. The Partnership will focus efforts on four broad areas:
  1. Providing supports for entrepreneurs and innovation
  2. Implementing strategies to develop and attract talent to the region
  3. Focusing on improved amenities and quality of life that will attract talent
  4. Organizing community seed capital and assets to support business start-up.

To remain competitive Owensboro must think differently about how to foster sustained economic growth in these ultra-competitive times. Regions like Owensboro cannot count on business recruitment or outside investment as the only means for economic growth in the future. In today’s worldwide marketplace, competition no longer comes just from the business next door or county down the road. Competition can come from any person, anywhere on the globe with a good education, a good idea, and a good internet connection. For decades this region has pinned hopes for economic prosperity on landing the big one--on recruiting the big industry which will offer lots and lots of jobs. This model was quite effective, until globalization. Unfortunately, in recent years it has led to slow job growth, declining business start-ups, a reduction in the percentage of young adults in our population, a decline in the percentage of citizens with four-year college degrees, and ultimately, the feeling of powerlessness. It's time to take control of our destiny and to stop relying on Frankfort, or Washington, or a corporate CEO 2,000 miles away to ignite our economy! Greater Owensboro must give equal weight to the attraction, development and retention of a young professionals and entrepreneurs as has been given to the attraction of new companies. To do this the community will need a strategy to both develop and recruit and nurture the development of innovation and entrepreneurship. The best long-term strategy in light of the evolving economy is to build on the talent and skills already existing in the region through a homegrown strategy to support people with dreams of starting new businesses or expand existing businesses. Make no mistake; the EDC is not backing away from working to attract companies to locate in Owensboro. We will continue to work with the state and others to recruit and try to attract outside investors to our region. The recruit and grow strategies must work together—the more the region grows through our entrepreneurial efforts, the more companies and investment we can successfully recruit.

Next week: Part 2- Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation To read more about economic development strategies based on entrepreneurship please go to the following links: Economic gardening; National Assessment of Entrepreneurship; Economic Development Administration; the Future of Economic Development Today

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Owensboro MSA Shows Slow, Steady Five-Year GDP Growth

The Owensboro MSA showed slow, steady growth of gross domestic product (GDP) based on estimates released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The GDP of a metropolitan area is defined as the market value of all final goods and services produced within that area for a given period of time. GDP is the most comprehensive measure of economic activity for a metropolitan area.

Owensboro’s GDP grew by $556 million between 2001 and 2005. The 15% growth over the five-year period and 3.7% growth between 2004 and 2005 were in the lowest quintile of U.S. MSA’s. Industries with the largest growth over the five-year period include health care and social assistance, manufacturing, and private service-providing industries. The largest yearly growth was in performing arts, museums and related industries, with nearly a 30% increase between 2004 and 2005. Private good producing industries, constituted $1.3 billion of the metro GDP (nearly $1 billion of which come from manufacturing), while private service-providing industries were responsible for $1.8 billion.

Estimates can be found on BEA’s Web site at

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mapp Biopharmaceutical Announcement an Example of Owensboro’s Competitive Advantage in Plant Natural Product Production

The announcement last week that Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc will expand operations to the Kentucky Bioprocessing (KBP) campus in Owensboro is a good example of the potential Owensboro has to become a world center of plant natural product production.

Mapp will utilize the facility and the workforce at KBP as part of its focus on development of a commercial scale production platform for its products. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, Mapp has developed and is currently producing several different plant derived products for use in small volume trials. The expansion to the KBP campus is intended to allow Mapp to leverage the unique expertise and capability of KBP to develop full scale production methods for its products, enabling clinical trials and ultimately product commercialization.

What does all this mean? It means that KBP in Owensboro, Kentucky offers to this company-- headquartered in the heart of one of the world’s most fabled biotech clusters-- a competitive advantage that no one else in the world offers: the ability to develop commercial scale production of plant derived products. The competitive advantage is the KBP facility, its personnel, and intellectual property. No other place in the world can successfully bring to commercial scale a plant-based product as efficiently and effectively as in Owensboro, Kentucky.

KBP offers clients and collaborators access to controlled plant growth facilities along with bench, pilot and full scale processing facilities all capable of production. In addition to its own capabilities KBP is able to leverage the experienced staff and facilities of the Owensboro Cancer Research Program and provides linkages to the considerable plant made product expertise of the Owensboro area agriculture community and to other services offered throughout the region designed to support research, development and growth of a plant made product business cluster.

In the 21st century innovation-based economy, the fact that we have the facility, the people and the intellectual property is significant. Make no mistake; we are not trying to become a biotech cluster to compete with the likes of San Diego or Boston. But we can succeed in creating a cluster of companies focusing on the utilization of our strengths, plant pharmaceuticals and plant-based natural products. In this area between KBP, the Owensboro Cancer Research Program and the partnership with the University of Louisville, and our regional agriculture community, we have a competitive advantage not found anywhere else. For more information about the Owensboro Life Science Partnership please visit

Thursday, September 20, 2007

EDC Blog Kicks Off

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Owensboro EDC Blog! The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is launching EDC Blog to share the work we are doing to build a better community and improve the quality of life of our citizens.

We will publish the blog on the EDC homepage ( with new entries being published regularly. To comment on the blog, feel free to e-mail us at We look forward to your comments!