Economic development is back in the news. There are actually two stories here. First, we have the same old story where we use "incentives" (i.e. tax money) trying to snare jobs from corporate herds that might pass our way. This type of economic hunting (where we try to steal jobs from other communities) is seldom very effective. The good news is that call centers have been successful here, so there is a strong likelihood that these jobs might outlast the incentive payments.
The second story is really more important. We now have a loan program, the Grow San Angelo Fund, targeted to small but growing businesses. We are talking about companies that have survived the initial start up pains and are ready to take on the pain of additional growth. These companies, often called gazelles, are where the real economic growth (somewhere around 70% of job creation) occurs. This section of our local economy is frequently overlooked and has historically been poorly served.
In my last post on ED, I talked about economic gardening. This fund, if used properly, can grow our own local economic garden. We must use it as fertilizer. We can grow the vast majority of the good jobs we want and need.