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By Tim Monger on November 20, 2015

Globalization is Changing the Game

for Companies and Metro Areas

During the past year the Indy region has undertaken two major initiatives that will impact how we do economic development throughout the metro area. One is the Global Cities Initiative, which focuses on foreign trade and investment. The second is the Metro Indy Economic Growth Strategy (aka Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy or CEDS), which brought together a coalition of business and civic leaders, elected officials and economic development professionals from throughout the region.
The Global Cities Initiative showed us that the region has a strong base of global engagement, but the region’s strengths come from a few large firms in a small number of industries. Indy exports and foreign direct investment have grown over the long term, but the region has underperformed post-recession. Another finding from the market assessment is that location and logistics play an important role in global competitiveness across industries. With all that said the most important finding is that the region has an opportunity with middle market firms. The Indy region’s 7,000 midsize traded sector establishments hold the most promise for economic growth by increasing exports and foreign direct investment.
The stakeholder input phase of the Economic Growth Strategy indicated that the Indy region needs a collaborative, cooperative approach to strategic economic development planning and implementation. Based on research and stakeholder input the Steering Committee agreed on four primary pillars as the foundation to the region’s collaborative, cooperative approach to regional economic development:
·      Well educated workers
·      Innovative and entrepreneurial businesses
·      Well connected and attractive places
·      Vibrant and inviting image
Within each pillar are strategic objectives that guide the development of specific tactical recommendations.
So now what? To quote Peter Drucker, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
This is a strategy for a region, not a strategy for a single organization. It needs an effective regional economic development structure with professional staff to ensure that it is implemented and implemented well. It needs an activator that will set implementation in motion and ensure that adequate resources are devoted to implementation. In addition, the organization needs to be structured in a manner that promotes efficient and effective service delivery.
Let’s be clear, our biggest challenge is creating an effective regional economic development structure, like our benchmark regions of Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; and Nashville, TN. This is critical because the Indy region unlike our benchmark metros has never embraced regional economic development.

Let the hard work begin!

Categories: CEDS, Export, "Foreign Direct Investment", "Hamilton County", "Indy Region", "Regional Economic Development"