Understanding Today's Challenges in Economic Development

Anatalio Ubalde will deliver a thought-and-action provoking NLC University Seminar for community leaders titled "Economic Development, Innovation, and Community Marketing" at the upcoming Congress of Cities and Exposition on Thursday, November 20th from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in Austin, TX. 

Economic development practice is undergoing a deep transformation driven by innovation, technology, globalization, entrepreneurship, and business disruption. The speed of change is rapid and has left many communities unaware and therefore still practicing dysfunctional methods of economic development that are no longer effective. 

Both elected officials and economic development practitioners have strategic roles to play in creating a community ecosystem that fosters economic growth and vitality. Key to this aligned implementation of successful economic development is an understanding of what works today and the catalysts that are driving new economic realities. 

  • Globalization is redefining what a local market is and who a community or business's competitors really are. 
  • All-in strategies of business recruitment are rebalancing with the need to focus on growing local businesses.
  • Entrepreneurship is creating local opportunities for high growth job creation.
  • Small business is big business and big corporations are not creating the jobs they used to.
  • Elected officials are placed in office by the residents and businesses in the community now, not the ones that may come in the future.
  • The Internet has radically transformed the way in which marketing and decisions about where to make business investments are being made.
  • Transparency is enabling elected officials to better understand if their economic development staff is focusing on effective initiatives.
  • Big Data is redefining how communities can support small businesses, attract outside businesses globally, and target the most likely businesses for investment. 

At the upcoming Congress of Cities, seminar participants will learn how to implement the most effective practices to foster economic development, what to stop doing, how their leadership can make a tactical difference, why implementing innovation will radically expand economic opportunities, and what marketing will deliver maximum results. 

In addition to the NLC University seminar, conference delegates have the opportunity to learn about this topic from another angle in the Saturday morning conference workshop "Community Branding and Marketing." Smaller in scope than the NLC University seminar, this workshop will help local leaders understand the site selection process, learn best practices for developing strategic marketing and community branding, and understand the role of elected leaders in the process.

If you haven't already registered for the Congress of Cities, register today and start making your plans for Austin. The NLC University seminars require pre-registration and have limited spaces, so act now to save your seat!

Anatalio Ubalde is CEO of GIS Planning Inc., an economic development internet company; ZoomProspector.com, an online site selection platform; and SizeUp, a small business intelligence service. 

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