Grow your own
The news that Google plans to install its high-speed fiber network in both Raleigh and Charlotte had to cause a good deal of pressure to arise in the chests of Greensboro’s economic development elite.
It was just a few short years ago that the city’s grassroots community put on a pretty good show in trying to win the first Google Fiber competition. That didn’t work out for the city either, but it did bring attention to the organic creative class that’s often overlooked in the Gate City.
On reflection, it seems like most of the unique economic development news these days comes from independent entrepreneurs and small homegrown businesses. It begs the question what the established economic development power structure does all day?
There was a lot of drama in recent weeks about posturing and clique baiting among the powers that be over at Downtown Greensboro Inc. Lost in all the board shuffling was the fact that boardroom drama detracts from the real business of creating a vibrant economic climate.
That’s being done out on the streets, down at the grassroots level by people such as Eric Robert, Andy Zimmerman, Mark and Sasha Gibb, and Kristina Fuller, just to name a few.
Perhaps Mayor Nancy Vaughan and business-oriented council members such as Zack Matheny can steer more of the city’s economic development budget to grassroots economic development outlets like the Triad Startup Lab, East Market Street Development Corporation and the Nussbaum Center.
Waiting for the state to lure a game changer, a Project Einstein if you will, that puts us on par with Raleigh and Charlotte is not going to cut it in the economic development void the city finds itself in.
Push the economic development money to the lowest level possible and build a thousand small sole propri- etors instead of waiting for Behemoth Corp. to come in and save the day. !
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