The Growth Alliance implemented a Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) program in early 2018 to meet one of the goals outlined in its 2016 strategic plan. One of the Growth Alliance’s economic development goals vetted through the strategic plan was to “increase economic competitiveness, stability, diversity, and quality.” The Growth Alliance’s leadership team assembled a Taskforce with various backgrounds and expertise to prepare the BR&E scope of work. It engaged the Purdue Extension and Purdue Center for Regional Development to facilitate meetings and provide data that the Taskforce members used to understand the local economy better and determine which industry sectors should be chosen for one-on-one visits.
Based on economic impact, size of the workforce and other factors, the Taskforce chose advanced manufacturing as the industry sector for their first round of visits.
A total of 38 companies were scheduled. Before visiting the 38 businesses, the Taskforce participated in due diligence by learning about these industries, proper terminology and industry headwinds. The businesses ranged from small to large, including:
- 19% Plastics & Rubber
- 19% Other
- 16% Automation & Industrial Machinery
- 11% Advanced Manufacturing
- 11% Building & Construction
- 9% Food Manufacturing
- 5% Automotive
- 5% SaaS/Digital Media & Technology
- 3% Electrical Equipment
- 2% Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
After visiting the 38 businesses, listening to the business proprietors’ concerns, and exploring future opportunities, the Taskforce identified ways the Growth Alliance and their contacts could assist these businesses with remaining stable and viable contributors for the Vanderburgh County economy. Likewise, the targeted businesses were able to understand better ways the City and County can be more proactive in promoting the business and advance manufacturing industries, especially given the prominent economy in Vanderburgh County.
Report authored by:
Purdue Extension Community Development in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development: Heather Strohm, Emily Del Real, Michael Wilcox, and Tanya Hall
Vanderburgh County Business Retention & Expansion Writing Committee: Andrea Lendy, Dan Arens, Thom Endress and Susan Vaughn