26 Aug 2015

How NY economic developers can win big in the Upstate Revitalization Initiative

It's no secret in New York State that Governor Cuomo has created the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI). The New York Upstate Revitalization Initiative is part of an overall program aimed at systematically revitalizing the economy of Upstate New York. According to the State's official webpage, "URI is an opportunity for the communities of upstate New York to address the economic challenges of their regions and work together in bringing jobs back upstate."

So, what exactly is up for grabs? Quite a lot actually - the three regions that make the most compelling argument will be designated as “Best Plan Awardees” in the URI competition and will receive $500 million each that will go to projects identified by the regional economic development councils. 

Rochester NY Sister Cities Bridge and Chamber of Commerce

The regional economic development councils should focus on a few key areas to win the awards:

  • *Development of strategies and projects that focus on the growth of regional economic clusters.

  • *Advancement of plans and projects that strengthen the Global NY agenda.

  • *Implementing additional strategies in their strategic plan.

  • *Maintaining a pipeline of projects.

  • *Training the workforce for today and tomorrow.

  • *Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan.

Sounds great, right? So what are the best ways to give your community an extra edge in making the case to win the awards and reap the benefits? While the REDCs have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth through the formation of a community-based/bottom-up approach, there still exists the need to provide the information needed for such an approach. This is where your economic development website comes into play.

Your economic development website is the starting point for hundreds of interested parties in your community. Growing and developing your strategic economic clusters will be a huge component of successfully lobbying for economic development money from the State. And having a well constructed website with all the information that interested investors need will be crucial in ensuring there is a steady pipeline of new projects and new businesses opening in your community. 

recent article that cites information from a prominent site selection firm confirms that site selectors seek out online data before they begin contacting economic development organizations for more information. Wouldn't it make sense to make sure all the information they need is readily accessible on your website?

If you have a large enough team, it's possible to collect all the data yourself and continually update it to ensure its fresh and reliable. But for many communities, economic development organizations are strained; employees wear multiple hats and play multiple roles. Having to gather information on census data, business openings and closings, college attainment levels, and much more can be a daunting task to continually update. Tools that can independently gather this information for your community and relay that information to interested investors could be invaluable. 

GIS Planning Inc. offers several tools to provide the information needed for bottom-up growth, such as our site selection tool ZoomProspector Enterprise, our smart demographic data tools the Intelligence Components, and our local business intelligence tool, SizeUp LBI. All of these smart data tools instantly strengthen your online presence, providing any investor interested in your community easy 24/7 access to fresh, reliable data. That definitely helps position your region to grow from the bottom-up! 

With a strong economic development website featuring smart data tools, you position your community to have a steady pipeline of new projects and a greater chance in developing your targeted economic clusters. Ease the strain on your economic development staff, increase the amount of information available to investors, and spend more time in developing additional strategies and local initiatives to grow from the bottom-up.

Contact us to learn more about how your economic development organization can benefit from online data tools. 


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