Development Visions: Monske — Building a high-tech, high-performance economyWritten by Dean Monske | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps more so than at any other time in the history of the organization, the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) is moving into 2012 with a focused, defined strategy that provides a clear road map aimed at best fulfilling its mission of growing the regional economy.
This fresh sense of energy is not limited to the RGP. A renewed spirit of collaboration among all regional entities has helped bring forth enhanced communication, a willingness to partner and utilize joint resources, an eagerness to share in successes, and most importantly, a commitment to excel.
Specifically for the RGP, it has re-established itself as the true one-stop shop for businesses and site consultants potentially interested in investing in the region. Its more concentrated approach internally focuses strictly on sales and marketing. The RGP is committed to devoting all resources to the attraction of new business and marketing of the region. The organization will support expansion efforts inside the region, but it will not manage traditional retention and expansion programs, leaving that function to the respective counties within the RGP footprint.
A major operational change in strategy is that the RGP no longer manages day-to-day activities for Rocket Ventures, the early-stage venture capital firm focused on technology-based startup companies. The RGP and the University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises recently announced a joint venture bringing together the technology-based resources of both entities to create Rocket Ventures LLC. Still maintaining ownership in Rocket Ventures, the RGP fully supports the necessary efforts for developing a technology-based economy and will continue partnering with the venture group moving forward.
In addition to the transitions noted above, 2012 marks a second phase for the RGP as a private economic development organization. In 2007, the regional business community led the privatization of the RGP with five-year funding commitments. Today, the RGP sets forth its 2012 strategic plan primarily focused on attraction and marketing, but with two major enhancements designed to support these efforts.
First, the RGP has taken a lead role for Northwest Ohio in developing new international investment and trade opportunities. Initial interest from Chinese investors came through relationships developed with the City of Toledo’s economic development team, eventually leading to investment projects on the Downtown waterfront.
Since then, the RGP has coordinated multiple delegation trips to China, Japan and Dubai, and recently opened two new sales offices in Beijing and Shenzhen. With these initial successes and others on the horizon, the RGP has implemented international attraction as a significant component of its economic development strategy. With that, the RGP recently hired an international business development specialist to lead these efforts.
Second, the RGP has been designated by the State of Ohio as the lead agent for 17 Northwest Ohio counties to manage and direct the new JobsOhio program. With support from many partners, the RGP developed a plan to best advance the entire region and support the state mission with the new $2.1 million in funding allocated under the program. Already the RGP has hired four people to administer and manage the program, including our international development specialist, and will soon hire a fifth person under this new initiative.
In particular for business development, the cornerstone of RGP’s efforts will focus on a direct outreach program to site consultants and C-level executives. The primary conduit for these efforts will continue to be COACT, a Toledo-based contracted firm charged with establishing initial relationships with these targeted audiences and setting face-to-face meetings for RGP staff. Another major initiative will be an investor network program, where business development staff meet with RGP investors to learn of potential expansion opportunities and “at risk” companies.
The marketing department will continue with its successful editorial marketing program, which has generated top-tier print and electronic placements in media outlets worldwide. In addition, marketing will provide support to our site consultant outreach program, as well as the development of sales materials. Finally, marketing will maintain a local public relations program to communicate the functions of the RGP, its programs and successes.
Dean Monske is president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership. Email him at email@example.com.