It’s a brand new year, and most of us are making personal resolutions. But it’s also a great time to resolve to make a difference in each community. The question is how can we make economic development work in our towns? We can concentrate on some simple strategies for prosperity:
1. Make the most of what you have. Maximize your advantages, including available land and buildings, good interstate highway access, existing industry, excellent educational facilities, local craftspeople and retired military professionals. Take the time to analyze your strengths and use them.
2. Focus on what you do best. Agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and other sectors offer strong potential in our communities. Encourage spin-offs and value-added components of your strongest local industry.
3. Don’t lose the business you’ve already got. The best strategy for long-term success of the community is to encourage the growth of existing business. Your current local companies are established and know the territory—help them become stronger.
4. Keep your population learning. Experts say that within the next ten years, nearly everyone in the workforce will require retraining and retooling. What is your community doing to encourage personal and career growth in your town, so that people can cultivate new skills?
5. Make sure you get your cut of the pie. Do some research on assistance programs, grants and loans. These programs may also complement work that is already taking place in your community. Talk to our office for good places to start.
6. Never give up! Economic development is NOT an overnight task and results require a commitment to the future. That means planning, learning and staying the course.
By following these suggestions and recognizing the value and the effectiveness of an economic development policy, we can create thriving communities.
By Nick Fosheim, Executive Director, Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations
There is better training for our workforce in Sioux Falls. A multitude of options are available to meet businesses' needs at the postsecondary level including city programs, state grants, technical training, and a new $50 million scholarship program for technical school students.Read More