Thursday, October 22, 2009

Metro Mayors Meet on Regional Competitiveness

Slide Presentations from Regional Competitiveness Workshop:
Regional Competitiveness Project: Agenda and Selection of Clusters
Making Sense of Clusters: Keynote Address by Joseph Cortright

Minneapolis downtown.jpgOn October 21, Metro-area Mayors met at the Humphrey Institute to select industry clusters that will be the focus of an effort to improve the economic competitiveness of the Twin Cities. The Regional Competitiveness Project is a two-year project funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and conducted by the Humphrey Institute's State and Local Policy Program for the Regional Council of Mayors in partnership with Urban Land Institute (ULI) Minnesota.

The purpose of the project is to implement a regional economic and workforce development competitiveness strategy for short and long-term economic growth. This strategy will build a regional model, effectively connecting economic and workforce development efforts of business leaders, the Regional Council of Mayors, Workforce Investment Boards, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota State College and University System, and the University of Minnesota

Joseph Cortright of Impresa in Portland, Oregon, gave the keynote address on "Making Sense of Clusters." Cortright summed up industry clusters in three words. "Clusters are about ideas, relationships, and place," according to Cortright. Cortright emphasized the importance of traded clusters that bring wealth into a region and draw upon specialized skills of a region's workforce.

The Humphrey Institute identified ten traded industry clusters in which the Twin Cities region is competitive nationally and internationally. The clusters were evaluated based on six criteria:

  • Strength of competitive advantage (existing or emerging)
  • Potential gain for industry cluster from private-public collaboration
  • Degree of geographic distribution in the region
  • Potential to spur innovation
  • Potential to spur entrepreneurship
  • International strength

The Mayors selected three clusters that will be the initial focus of the project--medical devices, financial services, and distribution services. In future phases of the project, the Mayors plan to work with other clusters as well.

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