What are the three ways economic development can help business today?
Collecting the bins and planning are statutory functions at most local authorities in England, economic development (ED) function is not a statutory function. So it is right that we ask what is the value of economic development and what contribution does it make to business growth.
This article sets out the three ways economic development can help business today. So here we go, we hope this article contributes to the discussion about what local government can do to boost business.
Bring together local agencies
Economic development should have a focus on bringing growth and investment to the area. As an economic development professional your role is to stay focussed on this. In England local authorities cannot set the tone and direction for economic development by themselves. Economic development has a collaborative attitude which recognises the uniqueness and value that other organisations can bring. Economic growth comes through collaboration. Central government, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Councils, Chambers of Commerce all have a part to play. Success will only come from these agencies collaborate.
There is such a wealth of information and data available to us. We do not need to rely on who shouts loudest in the room, or those with fixed opinions based on personal prejudices.
By sharing data we can bring different sources together to build a nuanced, clear picture of the current situation. This will then lead to insights and perspectives on the problem. For example at a recent client meeting we were able to bring new data on road traffic patterns which fundamentally changed the ways the client “framed” the problem of traffic exiting a business park.
Set out and own a vision for the district
We’ve been saving the best until last! It is not the job of business to create and own vision for the locality. Business look to local authorities for vision and leadership of place. Leadership and vision is central to economic development
So let’s get to work!