There are many moving parts as we consider business deals, the risks, the rewards, and the “what ifs.”
What should be our priorities in economic development work? Overall our task is to help businesses grow and develop here as well as work to retain and bring in businesses that can provide good job opportunities.
It’s understanding that the people and workforce that we have available here is critical. It’s the people that matter. And it’s working to be a great place. The millennial age workforce that are our primary younger generation workers now, want to live and work in great places. We need to work together to make this area, our county, and community a great place. In doing so, we’ll attract and keep a good quality workforce and we’ll attract businesses here and continue to encourage those that we already have to keep progressing and remain here.
The Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP) Discovery Tool will help us understand what area residents think of in regard to this area and potential opportunities. Before Jan. 16, 2015, please participate by going online to the Discovery Tool at go.unl.edu/gagecounty. Results from the Discovery Tool will be available in late January.
NGage, the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Beatrice, and area leaders will be working with anyone interested from Beatrice and Gage County communities in action planning to utilize the feedback and information received. Information from the Discovery Tool will be helpful as the NGage board works on an updated strategic plan for economic development.
The University of Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Rural Futures are making it possible for Beatrice and Gage County to participate as a pilot community for ECAP.
The ECAP program is explained as this: By engaging in the ECAP program, communities embrace visionary thinking, endorse entrepreneurial leadership, build synergy, and are able to leverage resources to attract and retain a working-age population, which will empower economic growth.
ECAP fits the notion that “it’s the people that matter” and should help address what we need to do to target and attract creative professionals and entrepreneurs.
Rebecca Ryan, the author of “Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation” suggests that we need to “be innovative and be great”. Key assets to strive for in an innovative and great community these days are talent, tolerance, and technology.
I recently heard Janet Ady of Ady Advantage at the Mid-American Economic Development Conference in Chicago. She pointed out that the main three economic assets in a community are our infrastructure, workforce (our people and their talent and skills) and our quality of life.
We need to understand and be able to tell our story as to why this is a great place to live, work and play and what sets us apart from all the other communities out there. We need to be competitive and utilize a strategy that works for us.
NGage welcomes input from area citizens. Please submit the ECAP Discovery Tool online at go.unl.edu/gagecounty. The NGage board will be utilizing this information, along with current data and input from area businesses to update its strategic plan in 2015.
NGage wants to help this area continuously improve economically and we appreciate your support in keeping a positive outlook. Let’s have a Happy Progressive New Year!