Sunday, November 4, 2007

Targets for Business Growth

The mission and vision of the EDC is to create the environment for economic progress in our region. We have identified three targeted areas for business growth—the three T’s: Traditional Industry, Technology, and Talent.

1. Traditional Industry- the approach and marketing methods always used in economic development to attract and retain manufacturing and other large employers. EDC officials work closely with Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development officials and site selection consultants to market industrial sites at the Mid-America Airpark, the airport with its newly expanded runway, Coleman Terminal, and regional sites at Bluegrass Crossings in Ohio County, and river sites in Hancock County, which offer roughly 1,000 acre footprint in each location. Globalization has made this a difficult proposition; however, in the past six months we have worked with dozens of clients that have looked at sites and buildings in the region.

2. Technology-oriented companies- with hopes of diversifying the economy, the EDC has begun the recruitment of small startup companies and high growth companies in variety of high tech sectors, including plant natural product companies that will utilize Kentucky Bioprocessing, renewable energy, and professional service companies providing value-added services in sectors such as finance and health care. So far the results have been very positive; Revasyst, a small company that provides value-added services in health care just located an office here and is growing fast. The EDC is working closely with Kentucky Bioprocessing, Owensboro Cancer Research Program and have attracted attention of numerous small biotechnology companies and startups. One company, Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, recently signed a lease with KBP to locate part of their operation in Owensboro. The tools for this type of recruitment are very different than traditional industrial recruitment. These small yet growing firms are looking for startup capital, a technology infrastructure such as broadband, science labs, and incubator space. The Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation will greatly assist efforts to recruit companies of this type.

3. Talent- plays a much more important role in the success of companies and communities than it ever has. Skilled human capital is at a premium. Not only do employees switch jobs more often, the growth rate of the workforce is slowing and aging. This country is facing a serious workforce crisis in the future. Communities are competing furiously to attract talent. Because of all these factors we feel it is imperative to give equal weight to the attraction, development and retention of talent as has been given to the attraction of new companies. Efforts to recruit skilled people center on the creation of a cool place through the development of quality of life amenities, downtown redevelopment, and the enhancement of college and university programs. is a new mechanism to recruit people, with several groups targeted: entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers, university applied research programs, college students, and foreign exchange students in our Sister Cities.

The EDC has recently assembled a recruitment team, including representatives from regional partner economic development organizations, to work with existing companies, new prospective companies, and the development, retention, and recruitment of people.

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