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The Latest in Economic Development – 12.12.11

December 12, 2011

Information germane to economic development can seemingly come from all angles. It is not always easy to filter out the information that is not pertinent to cities and city leaders. So every week, NLC will introduce articles related to economic development, placing special attention on interesting and ambitious city programs, identifying recent trends, and uncovering promising initiatives.

The aura of the tech start-up is undeniable. It all seems so easy – find a hoodie wearing college dropout with a big idea, give him or her office space, provide some seed capital, and watch the company grow into the next Groupon. This assumption has led to an oversupply of technology-based incubators, which, when reading between the lines, are not as successful as one may think. (Wall Street Journal)

If one were to think of “hip” cities with vibrant urban cultures, Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon are often the cream that rises to the top.  But Akron, Ohio, with help from the University Park Alliance, is setting out to transform an historic neighborhood that can be just as vibrant. A continuing work in progress, Akron is showing that for Rust Belt cities, there is life after recession. (Atlantic Cities)

It is a widely accepted notion that high quality education is an important cog in unlocking long-term economic growth – in towns, cities, states, and countries. How can cities take advantage of educational opportunities to foster organic economic growth? Small cities in Arizona are taking it upon themselves to revolutionize a new higher education model – one that is supported not by state governments, but by municipalities, tuition, and the general public. (Inside Higher Ed)

Entrepreneurship is a term that evokes everything associated with “being cool.” Young entrepreneurs – most notably Mark Zuckerberg – have sparked a renewed interest in creating the next big thing. And for good reason; Rebecca Bagley states that “the most powerful economic engine on our planet is the entrepreneur.” Naturally, the conversation is now shifting to the allocation of resources to these entrepreneurial conquerors through outreach programs. (Forbes)

For cities, the competition for young, talented residents is now a global affair. Young people are increasingly choosing cities with vibrant cultural centers, robust public transit systems, and affordable rents. Here are some cities outside the States that are finding their way into the crosshairs of globally-centered citizens. (New York Times)

The world of entrepreneurship and small business revolves around funding. Ideas are just ideas until dreams can become reality through loans or angel capital. We often hear that small business credit has dried up – a claim that is largely valid. But what if the remaining credit is being allocated to the wrong things? Unfortunately, the small amount of credit making its way into the small business community is not being targeted on things that actually matter to small businesses – it’s being funneled to real estate. (Atlantic Cities)

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