Learning How To Do “It” Better

Posted by – Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development & Community Relations

I’m often asked by people … What exactly does economic development mean?  What is “it”? 

Well, in more general terms, economic development is the focus state, county, and municipal governments have on improving the standard of living of its citizens through the creation of jobs and the support of innovation and new ideas.  This intentional focus is intended to facilitate an overall better quality of life for people.

Our ability to attract, retain, and grow business in Michigan depends on many factors. We’re regularly competing with other countries and states for jobs and investment.  It’s the role of our profession to make the best business case possible to companies to encourage them to locate or invest in our respective communities.

The face of economic development is constantly changing and it’s difficult to keep up sometimes.  I have the good fortune of being on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA).  We held our annual meeting last week up in Shanty Creek and the theme of the conference was Forging Michigan’s Future.

Stephanie Carroll networking with Alan Weber from Oakland County
Stephanie Carroll networking with Alan Weber from Oakland County

This was a great opportunity to network and talk about the programs that we often use and how we can work together.  We also learned about what’s changing and how it will affect how we do our jobs.  If you’ve read the news lately, there is a lot of talk about road funding, budgets, and all things politics.

Michigan definitely has a lot of work and many challenges ahead of it, but the conference gave me an introspective look at the profession and the role we play in making our communities better.  It was an excellent experience.