Is YOUR community ready to attract new investment?

While many communities have assets that are attractive to those who currently live, play and conduct business there, do these communities have what it takes to attract new residents and businesses? Major corporations and others may invest millions of dollars in a community and don’t take the decision lightly.

According to economic and community development consultant, Carol Johnson, most communities all say the same things. She says what site consultants and prospects fear most when they visit a potential site is the local team will talk too much and waste their time!

Site Prep 2014-12-18According to Johnson, to be prepared “The local team needs to understand that every facet of your site is quantitatively ranked and each industry, each project will rank you differently.” In other words, the local team needs to convey the unique things they have to offer each individual prospect and be able to prove it. Corporations are obsessed with “risk avoidance” which means the local team must remove any mystery or perceptions of risk.

Successful communities have created a team that includes the local experts in the areas of:  utilities (e.g., gas, electric, water and waste water), industry, infrastructure, workforce, taxation and incentives. It is key that the local team can convey credibility and expertise when responding to prospect needs. It is especially critical that the local team can stand behind their commitments to meet project timelines and ensure project confidentiality.

So where might a community begin? Start first with an understanding of community assets. Second, be able to document these assets – how do the assets meet requirements of the prospect? Third, understand the key drivers of the prospect’s decision. KNOW THEM, UNDERSTAND THEM and CONFIRM THEM several times; prospects often change their minds. Last, understand that prospects make final decisions based on return on investment and their ability to minimize or overcome risk – perceived and real.

Are you SURE your team is ready?  Learn more on this topic at: and

(Submitted by: Cynthia Leis, Extension Educator and Van Wert City Economic Development Director)

Helping find employee/employer ‘fit’ via OhioMeansJobs

Whether you are looking for gainful employment and career advancement or you are seeking highly qualified and motivated associates for your business, finding the right fit is key. The new OhioMeansJobs website is designed to assist employers in broadening their choices and gaining access to the large pool of data of potential employees from the State of Ohio.

OSU Extension, in partnership with the Fayette County Economic Development Department, recently held a training session focused on the features of the new OhioMeansJobs website designed to assist them in attracting, hiring, retaining and advancing their workforce needs. The site also enables employers to post jobs, search resumés and take advantage of federal, state and local employment programs. The training was open to all businesses including the county’s eight major employers. Participating companies included:

  • TFO Tech, Inc.OhioMeansJobs Website Employer Training - Post
  • Stage Stores Distribution Center
  • Domtar
  • Sugar Creek Packing
  • Mars Pet Care
  • Wal-Mart Super Stores
  • YUSA Corporation
  • McKesson Drug Company

The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, Fayette County Jobs and Family Services, Southern State Community College and the OhioMeansJobs local office provided support for the training.

(Submitted by Godwin Apaliyah, Extension Educator, Fayette County & Miami Valley EERA)

Growing the economy with entrepreneurial talent


What community doesn’t want to learn about identifying and growing its entrepreneurs? Communities of all sizes, large and small, are looking for ways to bolster economic growth. While research shows about 60 to 80 percent of new jobs created annually are the result of existing business expansion, new business start-ups create about 40 percent of new jobs annually (about 6.5 jobs per new business on average) (Badal, 2010).

How can we partner with the chambers of commerce, economic development offices and youth leadership programs to cultivate interest in growing new businesses in these communities?

We recently had the opportunity to tour the world headquarters of Gallup (the longtime ‘polling’ organization that has more recently gotten into the business of ‘StrengthsFinder’ among other things). In addition to hearing an interesting overview of the company’s history, we also learned of the newly unveiled ‘Entrepreneurship StrengthsFinder’ from Gallup representatives. We left there convinced that this tool provides us opportunities to stimulate interest in exercising entrepreneurial talents and abilities with audiences of all ages and walks of life.

To learn more about this new tool for identifying entrepreneurial talent, click here.

(Submitted by Greg Davis, Professor and Assistant Director, OSU Extension – Community Development, and Rose Fisher Merkowitz, Associate Professor and Extension Educator, Miami Valley EERA)

Boost Local Economy with Ohio Business Retention & Expansion Program

BRnE Downtown BusinessInterested in giving a boost to your local economy with new jobs and investment? Learning what you can do to help the existing businesses in your community is one key place to start. To help you learn more about them consider becoming a partner in the Ohio Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) program. As one of Ohio State University Extension’s Signature Programs, BR&E engages community stakeholders in a formal dialogue to empower local officials and the community at large to act on community and economic development issues of strategic importance. As a program partner you will learn how to systematically gather and interpret information that is critical to understanding local community and economic development needs. To learn more about BR&E as well as the communities with whom we’ve partnered and their success stories, click here.

(Submitted by David Civittolo, Associate Professor & Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics)