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Four Trends That Need to Be Considered When Driving Regional Economic Development Initiatives

To become the preferential choice for companies interested in business expansion and set themselves up for a robust post-pandemic recovery, every community must consider these four trends. In doing so, they will accelerate business growth and economic development initiatives in their regions. Each state is different from its neighbors. That’s why everyone involved in economic development initiatives and business growth must have a handle on the differing tax and regulatory structures.



Often, the only way to see the whole picture is to take many steps away from it. This is especially true when it comes to business growth across the country. Many communities and companies are eager to create economic development initiatives that drive business expansion. However, the first step is to identify and overcome the four main issues with the most potential to hamper business growth strategies. These include site selection, talent availability, regulatory and tax considerations, and water scarcity.

Site Selection: Location Matters

A key element of regional economic development is having sites that are ready for companies when they need new facilities. Cities, towns, and municipalities that don’t have available sites aren’t going to appeal to companies prepared to undergo the site selection process.

Businesses want to find land and buildings that are ready for use and have undergone proper due diligence. These components prove that the surrounding communities are engaged in attracting new investments and willing to support future endeavors.

Talent Availability: Employers Want Employees

The country is in the middle of a labor shortage fueled by the Great Resignation. Accordingly, no company wants to move into an area that lacks the talent it needs. Talent is the key to business success, after all. Without a healthy supply of educated job candidates who are eager to work, companies will think twice about expanding into new areas.

The answer to this problem is a robust talent pipeline built for the long haul. This workforce development pipeline needs to be airtight and supported financially and societally. In other words, it must be available and attractive to people who want to work.

For example, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation has announced its desire to have no fewer than 20,000 individuals complete their post-secondary education by 2030. To achieve the ambitious undertaking, area businesses and legislators are working together. A community that is ready to train its people is one that will fuel business growth in the long run.

Regulatory and Tax Considerations: Aligning Fiscal Structures

Each state is different from its neighbors. That’s why everyone involved in economic development initiatives and business growth must have a handle on the differing tax and regulatory structures.

Understanding tax and regulatory nuances is essential to foster a sense of trust in the relationship between the state and business entity. Being in a state or community with locked-in business-friendly policies is also important. For example, consider Missouri’s incentives, such as tax credits. These types of incentives, combined with other factors, make Missouri attractive to company leaders.

Ultimately, regulatory and tax advantages are critical to profit. States and communities with business-friendly policies already in place automatically show that they are good locations for businesses.

Water Scarcity: Investigating Natural Resources

Almost all businesses rely on the natural resources available in the places they set up shop. For manufacturers, the need for accessible water can be critical. Unfortunately, many parts of the U.S. struggle with water scarcity in locations where it was once abundant. The western part of the U.S. has been hit particularly hard. For just one example, consider that Nevada’s Lake Mead was only a little more than one-third full by the end of April 2021.

Though communities can’t necessarily change the amount of water in and around their neighborhoods, they can help businesses see past this concern. An example of this might be learning about the latest water conservation innovations. Plenty of imaginative thinkers are looking for methods to develop processes that will lessen the need to use as much water in industry and agribusiness.

Sharing these concepts with companies looking to expand can lower their resistance to moving to certain regions and serve as a springboard for more environmentally friendly practices. Areas of the country with adequate water, such as communities along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, should vigorously promote those resources to expanding companies.

The good news is that many companies have business growth strategies that include relocation or expansion. Community leaders need to consider the 30,000-foot view to become the preferential choice for interested companies and set up their communities for a robust post-pandemic recovery. In doing so, they will accelerate business growth and economic prosperity in their regions.


(Featured image by ar130405 via Pixabay)

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Subash Alias is the CEO of Missouri Partnership , a public-private economic development organization available to assist businesses with their next expansion or relocation. Missouri Partnership is an expert resource to support companies’ site selection needs when the time is right to grow.