Jay Garner – President and CEO of Garner Economics LLC

Published with permission …

What Is the Path from Good to Great for an EDO?

By Jay Garner, CEcD, CCE, FM, HLM President and CEO

As  the  CEO  of  an  economic  development and site location  consulting  firm,  we  are  often  asked  to  evaluate  and recommend how economic development organizations (EDO’s) can be the most effective.  The effort to create wealth for citizens of communities is a very competitive and complex process.   In the United States alone, there are over 18,000 municipalities, 3,141 counties or parishes, 90,000 taxing jurisdictions, all competing for new business opportunities and jobs for its citizens. From that large universe, there are about 7,000 EDO’s, Chambers of Commerce or some form of group that is charged with recruiting new business, helping existing businesses expand, or working to create an entrepreneurial environment so that new businesses can start up.  Not unexpectedly, some of these organizations are very good, most are quite mediocre and some need serious help in being better at what they are supposed to do.

What then is the common ingredient for a successful EDO?  Leadership.  Leadership from both the CEO of the EDO and from its governing group; whether it’s a board of directors, a Mayor or a Governor. With leadership, the other necessary ingredients come into place.    Those ingredients include a well-funded organization so that you can stand out above the crowded competition; a professional, innovative and hardworking staff; and compelling “product” so that you have something to sell such as a research park, industrial and commercial sites, a building or unique incubators – whatever it is that differentiates you as a community.

Our firm has conducted very comprehensive benchmarking of best practice EDO’s.   What we have seen is that the best of the best have those previously mentioned common ingredients.   But they also have a proactive and aggressive international business development effort, are extremely innovative in adapting to changes in the global economy, have shied away from embracing fads and instead focus on pragmatic, real world solutions to embrace change,  understand that a blended approach of creating economic prosperity includes recruitment, retention  and  entrepreneurial development,  and  uses  web  sites  effectively  as  a  global  portal  to introduce their respective geographic locations to the World.

As we traverse the continent in our work for both our corporate and economic development clients, it’s those organizations that have recognized that it can no longer be business as usual as the ones that succeed in moving the bar from “good to great”.

©2013 Garner Economics, LLC

About Garner Economics LLC

Garner Economics, LLC provides innovative economic development solutions in a competitive global market.

Garner Economics offers site selection, analytical research, industry targeting, strategic planning and organizational development with a wealth of expertise to companies, communities, and organizations globally. Garner Economics is based in Atlanta, GA and has representative offices in both Europe and Asia.

Since 2003, our team has been headed by Jay Garner, a 33 year veteran of the site location consulting, economic development and chamber of commerce professions and rounded out by talented experts with CEcD, CCE and CFRE designations. See more at www.garnereconomics.com


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