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Why economic development is important for any city

By Mishal Alam
Published February 22, 2023

It is essential to realize the role of economic development for inclusive growth, labor participation, education system and civic engagement. More than ever, it is time for cities and states to flourish and shape their economic fortunes. It is crucial for the municipalities, cities, and states to expand their economic goals and to achieve the vision they have for the region. 

Why is economic development important? 

Economic development is a crucial element to any thriving (and growing!) city. New jobs for residents, early childhood programs, sector-based approach to improve workforce satisfaction can have lasting positive impacts for the residents. New companies often need to tap into the local supply chain, giving other local businesses a boost to their bottom line. This in turn can offer economic inclusion, connecting businesses and neighborhoods-based entrepreneurs to the broader economy. Furthermore, there is a trickledown effect throughout your town’s entire economy as both businesses and workers begin spending their profits in your city. 

How can you get started? 

If your town or city does not have robust economic development plans in place, it may be daunting to figure out where to start. But do not worry, starting can be simple and you can grow and adapt your plans as you go. 

To start, it is best to set both short and long-term goals for your economic development plan. Short term goals will look at near-term metrics and actions that your city can start acting on right away. This may include tactics like having a new website in place to maximize resident engagement and better track the results online to gauge what solutions residents are immediately looking to solve.  


Longer-term goals will focus on broader economic goals such as focusing on the monetary and fiscal policy. How much new immigrants will be coming in and what new job opportunities, housing, education, transport, and healthcare initiatives can be progressed.  

Developing and maintaining a municipal, city or state website is the building block of increasing resident engagement. You can display your city, the potential workforce, listed properties and how a new (or existing business) can tap into your city for help. Having all the valuable information available on your website will help businesses make an informed decision and having a website that is vibrant and highlights everything your city has to offer could make (or break!) a business’s decision when opening show. 

Next, you will want to start outreach. Trade missions, social campaigns and even hiring specialize staff members that can work with businesses, developers and other levels of government should all be on the table. It may be worthwhile to start by focusing on key sectors or cluster of sectors that would benefit most by expanding operations in your city. This will allow you to focus your resources where you are likely to get the most value. 

And finally – test, learn and adapt. There is no ‘set it and forget it’ with an economic development plan. Any action plan will need to be adjusted as your city grows and changes. But by having the right foundation in place, you will be able to pivot and adapt and ensure long-term success for your economic development plan.