As the MLB World Series approaches, different strategies for building a winning team are tested. The deep pocket, metropolitan teams like New York write big checks to obtain the sluggers who might make the difference in the last month of the season. Smaller market teams, like the Minnesota Twins, follow a more conservative approach, bringing up young, talented players from their own farm clubs, players who understand and are loyal to their long-time team.
The parallels with community economic development are very strong. An easy, although expensive, strategy is to chase the “home runs,” the single company or industry locations that can make an immediate difference to the Sioux Falls area economy. Everybody likes the walk-off homer that captures the game in the ninth inning, but there are other ways to win.
Efficient—and successful—small market baseball teams are like communities that can encourage and nurture their own resources. By realizing the importance of existing industries and working with local entrepreneurs, communities like Sioux Falls can build a winning economic team.
One of the problems in chasing that home run hitter is that the purchase price is often too high—especially if that player doesn’t really produce. Too many cities have given major incentives to bring in a new company promising hundreds of jobs and millions of tax dollars—only to find that three years later that company has moved on, often to the next location offering even more incentives.
Conversely, the regional businesses and leading-edge local entrepreneurs who are encouraged, funded and helped to grow in our own backyard often require smaller investments and are connected to the Sioux Falls area by their own choice.
We can create our own winning team by recognizing that a combination of economic development strategies is best for us. We can recruit power players that fit our team while providing the vital resources necessary for developing entrepreneurs and growing companies in our region.
Smart planning, good coaching and building a great team of new and local expansion companies can keep our area winning the big games.
By Dean Dziedzic, Vice President of Economic Development, Sioux Falls Development Foundation
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