Importance of Economic Development

Posted by on June 1, 2012

In order for any community to survive, its citizens must have employment opportunities, and its government must be able to generate revenue to provide services.  Economic development, if done effectively, works to retain and grow jobs and investment within a community.  The tax base that is created through this growth and investment is used by our local governments to provide services such as police, fire department, plowing, senior services, parks/recreation, library services, etc. 

As an economic development organization, or EDO, the Lake Superior Community Partnership’s primary function is to convene, communicate and connect.  Economic developers do not create jobs or increase the tax base themselves.  The private sector makes the investment to create jobs and increase wealth.  Our job is to facilitate people, information, opportunities and even remove roadblocks to allow this to happen. 
Our role in economic development, as defined by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation comes in two forms: business and community development. 
With regards to business development, the LSCP team provides guidance and resources to assist in the three basic forms I mentioned last week:  business retention/expansion, attraction and entrepreneurial development. 
Examples of community groups and organizations that the LSCP has helped to convene and facilitate over the past few years are the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority, Marquette Bikeability Committee, Lake Superior Leadership Academy, and 40 Below: Marquette County Young Professionals Network.  
Walking beside business and community development is our legislative advocacy or “government relations” efforts.  The LSCP, through task force and board recommendations, takes positions on legislative issues that affect and impact our local business community.  We are the “eyes, ears and voice” for Marquette County business by tracking bills, educating our partners and communicating our position to legislators on issues that are of concern to the business climate of our region. 

Over the past few years, it has been brought to the attention of our organization that there has been confusion as to our organization’s purpose.  We’ve received questions such as “Who is the LSCP and what do you do?” “Are you a/the Chamber of Commerce?” and “What do you do for businesses and why should my business join the LSCP?”  

I hope that I have helped answer some of these questions over the years in this column, especially in the last few weeks.  However, all questions will be answered this week at “The LSCP Evolution,” a rebranding event that will unveil our new mission, strategic plan and clearly define “who we are and what we do.” 

The LSCP Evolution will be held at 5pm in the Peter White Lounge in the University Center on the campus of NMU. Anyone is welcome to attend, and guests will be treated to hors d’oeuvres with a cash bar available.  I hope you will join us!