It’s hard to believe OEV first opened its doors one year ago. From day one early last spring, and with the support of the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency, we hit the ground running and built a dynamic staff dedicated to the accountability, transparency, citizen engagement and professional management of economic development initiatives. It’s been a great year and we couldn’t let the opportunity pass to reflect on where we’ve been and share our enthusiasm for what’s to come.
In our first year, we worked with VisionFirst Advisors and nearly 1,000 Tallahassee-Leon County residents to prepare our community’s first-ever long-term Economic Development Strategic Plan, which was formally adopted in October 2016. In February 2017, OEV’s Work Plan – the guiding document that contains our five-year timeline and Strategic Plan performance metrics – was approved as Tallahassee-Leon County’s economic development program of work. OEV staff have participated in the 6th and 7th Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in September 2016 and April 2017, respectively, to explore how regions in Canada and Central Texas have built and maintained their economic competitiveness. More than 50 high-level leaders from around the world participate in these exchanges to expand links between the global economies and key stakeholders. Additionally, we’ve transformed the way businesses, government, and citizens access data by pioneering Tallahassee-Leon County’s most comprehensive database of economic indicators. We routinely monitor key economic metrics and current trends and conditions, and make the information available through the OEV website and Quarterly Economic Updates. Finally, we’ve developed an Incentives Toolkit to cultivate economic competiveness in Tallahassee-Leon County.
Where we’re going: In the next year, we will engage a consultant to perform a Target Industry Analysis and Selection Study to obtain an up-to-date, comprehensive profile of the industry, workforce, and socioeconomic characteristics that are the “platform” upon which economic development occurs in our community. We’re also excited to continue to engage existing businesses through our innovative Capital Local Outreach Opportunity Program (CapitalLOOP), where OEV staff engage in face-to-face visits with business leaders to uncover and help tackle any trending issues, and help leverage any opportunities they are experiencing. We’re also developing a full Communications and Marketing Plan to better promote our region as a business generator. To further support all we do, and to highlight the importance of our community partners, we are establishing the Economic Vitality Leadership Council and Economic Vitality Competitiveness Committee to maximize the effectiveness of community partners and eliminate potential conflicts through expanding private sector involvement and with the goal of supporting the implementation of the strategic plan and increasing the community’s economic competiveness.
In short, it’s been a great year, and we look forward to helping create Tallahassee-Leon County’s bright future.