15 years ago, there was very little ‘seek and find’ activity undertaken by local economic development agencies. Those were the heady days of Frank McKenna.
Then slowly, in response to perceived underperformance from provincial economic development efforts, local ED agencies started to undertake seek and find and in fact a national program was put in place called CISP to provide money to support these efforts.
Now I see that more local agencies are backing away from seek and find. On one hand this makes perfect sense. There is a team (10 or so?) in Fredericton doing this with travel budgets, etc. It is enormously hard for a small local agency to do seek and find of new business. However, I do know a few that have done it quite well – mainly because they actually hired a real sales guy/gal to lead the effort.
But what is missing from this article is the lack of discussion around building the local value proposition for economic development. That should be the sweet spot for local economic developers. Finding the gaps and then working with the players to fill them in.
Every community – large or small – has the potential to witness economic development.