• Starner: Even in challenging times we can thrive

  • Every day brings news of job cuts; chronic unemployment and global competition through numerous media sources, and more uncertain economic news remains in the forecast.

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  • Every day brings news of job cuts; chronic unemployment and global competition through numerous media sources, and more uncertain economic news remains in the forecast.
    We are told to focus on corporate innovation, entrepreneurs, green technology and workforce skills enhancement all hailed as “economic requirements” throughout our region, state and country. Meanwhile the lack of adequate resources to strengthen companies and the economy’s demand for educated, skilled and trained workers limits our children’s likelihood of entering the 21st century knowledge-based economy.
    We watch schools face losing battles with declining state and local revenues, growth in student needs, and the need to balance budgets, while we continue a pattern of not investing in long-term growth strategies that link the best parts of our locations to the regional, national and global economy.
    Today’s economic news can leave us feeling desperate or worse, hopeless, about our economic security and prospects.
    Our global economy and society are forever linked to rapid and unimaginable scales of impacts felt worldwide, while societal demands positively or negatively are influenced and directed by advancements in science and technology. Think about cell phones with video and camera; iPads, swine and avian flu, global disasters, terrorism and democratic demands like the revolution in Egypt this month. All of us are impacted across the globe now in minutes, hours and days and less in weeks, months or years by all these forces and more.
    The global economy is no longer an “outside and out there” concept. Rather it is here, now, immediate and far reaching. Each of us and every country and economy are left WITHOUT the option to withdraw or separate ourselves from the effects of globalization.
    Communities, counties, states, regions that make the leap to become effective “model communities” will be winners in the new global economy because they recognize and support SHARED CORE COMMUNITY VALUES, GOALS AND STRATEGIES aligned globally.
    Characteristics present and embraced by thriving communities improve the likelihood of these locations to make the economic and societal transition and arrive in a stronger economic position that is shared among diverse residents and businesses. Without these characteristics, competitive opportunities for communities and their residents and companies will diminish rapidly, as exemplified by numerous examples of decay among East Coast and Midwestern cities over the past 40 years or worse.
    Collaboration: Working together on commonly held needs, resources, assets and goals among public and private organizations.
    Small business growth and entrepreneurship: Locations that provide ecosystems to promote and support widespread access to business tools, networks and growth resources to business incorporation, learning, business knowledge, skills to adapt, change and innovate through science and technology.
    Strong relationships and understanding of local business needs: Knowing local employers while removing obstacles to growth and providing timely tools and resources to assist their growth.
    Page 2 of 2 - Resource- and asset-oriented regional economic growth strategies: Tailoring local community investments in resources and assets targeted to regional growth strategies that allow for repeatable business expansion and attraction opportunities.
    Community vision and advocacy for economic growth priorities: Big-picture growth and investment goals that link citizen and business priorities and their hopes to a sustainable and executable economic strategy backed political that is widely shared and owned at the grassroots level.
    Brien Starner is president of the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation.

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