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New Economic Development Game Plan – Competitiveness Study Summary

By Portage County Business Council

The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA), Competitive Wisconsin, Inc., Wisconsin Counties Association and the research organization Wisconsin Economic Development Institute (WEDI) recently released the results from a comprehensive economic development study they sponsored.  The goal of the collaborative study was to build upon Wisconsin’s foundation and put the state in a competitive position in the global marketplace.

The non-partisan consulting firms, Deloitte Consulting and Newmark Knight Frank (NKF) Consulting were selected as the study team.

New game plan initiatives were established, keeping these goals in mind:

Wisconsin will rank among the Top 10 states for starting a business by 2016.
According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, Wisconsin’s current rank is #28.

Wisconsin will rank among the Top 10 states for expanding a business by 2016.
According to CNBC’s May 2010 Rankings, Wisconsin is #29.

As a result of the comprehensive research, nine recommendations were compiled:

1. Restructure the Department of Commerce into a new quasi-public entity that would develop, deliver and oversee Wisconsin’s targeted economic development strategy.

2. Reposition Wisconsin‘s brand as possessing a deep talent pool, a culture of innovation and a pro-business climate.

3. Align statewide economic development strategies on improving and sustaining Wisconsin’s economic health.

4. Improve Wisconsin’s business retention efforts.

5. Create a new entity called Wisconsin Pioneers. This non-profit organization will focus its efforts on investments in and the acceleration of early-stage / second-stage, high-growth companies.

6. Reinvigorate Wisconsin’s business attraction capabilities.

7. Deploy a statewide “Shovel-Ready” sites program with expedited permitting procedures.

8. Implement new incentives geared toward capital-intensive and start up projects while launching aggressive, value-added programs.

9. Apply enhanced technology applications to implement Wisconsin’s economic development strategy.

Read the full Executive Summary report, Be Bold Wisconsin Project Appendix or visit the Wisconsin Economic Development Association.