The Latest in Economic Development – 2.2.12


This week’s blog entry explains new progress in entrepreneurial-focused federal legislation, explores the upward trend in U.S. exports, highlights Oklahoma City’s successful growth strategy, focuses on lessons learned from Michael Bloomberg and Cornell’s ambitious project, and discovers a startup that helps startups. Comment below or send to

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Are we getting closer to federal policy changes that will accelerate entrepreneurship? We certainly could be. Yesterday, President Obama introduced his Startup America legislative agenda, based on a few varieties of proposed legislation and Kauffman Foundation research. Leader of the Startup America Partnership – Steve Case – explores in this blog post some of the main features of the agenda, including crowdfunding, allowing highly-skilled immigrants to remain in the US, and regulatory reform. (TechCrunch)

The “recovery” from the Great Recession hasn’t been much of a recovery. One aspect of the American economy is on the uptick though – exports. Exports as a percentage of GDP have been steadily rising since the recession thanks to a weak dollar and depressed domestic demand. Will president Obama’s much ballyhooed plan to double exports come to fruition? The New York Times’ Annie Lowery and Binyamin Appelbaum explore this very topic.

Many cities have continued to struggle financially due to the adverse revenue effects of the recession, but Oklahoma City has done better than most to soften the blow. How? According to Mayor Mick Cornett, an additional penny on the dollar sales tax has allowed the city to invest conservatively in capital projects focused on improving the quality of life. This approach has paid off, as Oklahoma City has been able to attract young people to move into its core due to its many opportunities and amenities. What’s the secret to citizen support for additional taxes in a conservative state? The political capital that comes when you do what you say you’re going to do. (NPR) via (Planetizen)

Most cities don’t have the capacity to undertake projects like NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent announcement that Cornell University will be building a graduate science and engineering campus in the city. The project is estimated to cost around $2 billion – not in the ballpark of a traditional economic development budget. But important lessons can still be learned from the project: 1) “Great cities view their universities as investments in their economic future.” 2) University students are important contributors to a city’s economy. 3) “Economic development takes place with public-private partnerships.” And 4) “It takes leadership from both the public and private sectors to build support for far-reaching proposals.” (Bangor Daily News)

The startup environment can sometimes be confusing to an outsider, but what about a startup that helps startups? Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is doing just that, and he’s gaining attention and support from struggling cities. His Venture for America program is placing trained fellows in cities like Detroit and Providence for two years to provide much needed support to small, fast-fast growing companies. It’s a win-win; high-potential startups receive talented and cheap labor, and the fellow gains real world entrepreneurial experience. (Forbes) via (Innovation Daily)

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