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Posted by Sarah Brown on 02 Sept '14

Is economic development only about the economy?

Success in the 21st century cannot only be measured in money even if it is economic development

Last week I went to a North Notts Breakfast meeting which included a presentation by James Newman the chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Economic Partnership(LEP). During his presentation he explained that their only focus as a LEP was the economy! He also said that they were “agnostic” about what types of company they attracted.

I am afraid that brought on a rant to Bob on the way home in the car. As many of you who have read any of my blogs will know we believe that success for the 21st Century business or any organisation for that matter doesn’t come by focusing on money but by “being good”. In this digital age and in an advanced economy money is not the only driver and I particularly believe that sustainable success over the long term comes from having an identifiable niche(s) – think Sheffield and cutlery in the past.

If I were CEO of an organisation looking for a new location I would choose it because of the quality of life I and my staff could enjoy outside work be that sport, culture, shopping or countryside; the quality of the potential staff; potential access to collaboration partners such as universities; the quality of the potential housing; crime rates; the environment and pollution, and in the mix, but not predominant, would be financial incentives, ease of transport, and digital connectivity. I would be looking for a community that works, cares for its elderly, is cohesive and inclusive, has village fetes or street festivals, is welcoming.

To back this up a discussion has started on LinkedIn about “What are this regions’s USPs?”. Richard Wright who started the discussion mentioned 3 niches for the area, Advanced materials, wellness and creative “arts”. Others have followed and they have talked about quality of life, great healthcare and the people. If you want to get involved the LinkedIn group is

Any business or charity that chases money fails – just read Built to Last by Collins and Porras if you want the evidence. I am sure that any region that chases money will also fail – success is based on so much more than money.

Tags: 21st century business success niche

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