The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map. This week’s blog is from Brynn Grant, SEDA’s Vice President for Competitiveness. Brynn lives, eats, thinks, dreams Savannah’s economic development possibilities. Read on for Brynn’s update on SEDA’s plans to harness the local community’s brainpower on a broader scale ….
In December 2011, on this blog, we told you a little about the SRI International study that will direct SEDA’s proactive efforts to create, grow and attract jobs here for many years to come. In the final analysis, in addition to identifying four target industries, SRI outlined areas of opportunity for our community along with possible recommendations for growth and development that included advanced manufacturing workforce initiatives, models and mechanisms for supporting start-ups, the linking of materials and design assets, maximizing the well-established logistics and transportation sector to attract more of the higher-wage businesses that support it, and of course, entertainment production.
While SEDA is working internally to align our programs, services, marketing and public relations efforts with the identified target industries for the greatest possible effectiveness in job creation, it is also our intent to work externally to help advance the recommendations made in the final SRI report as a community, and we are committed to serving as the convener, organizer, and as much as possible, the unifier.
In that light, through our Competitiveness Sounding Board made up of SEDA board and advisory council members, as well as strategic partners who are just genuinely interested in participating, SEDA is developing small, strategic teams based on the areas of recomendation.
We expect the teams to organize around these causes for a temporary period of time as determined by the need itself; they should not be committees that exist in perpetuity. They will be responsible for reviewing the key assets, perceived gaps and recommended actions and then developing plans to advance these key community development initiatives in the ways that make the most sense for us as a community, as a region.
With the teams’ continued engagement and counsel, the Competitiveness Sounding Board’s job will be to prioritize, strategize and organize the pursuit of these final recommendations.
Ultimately, the recommendations made by SRI are just a starting point. There is really no telling where the small teams may end up with regard to their recommendations. And I am certain it will not be all new ideas but in many cases old ones revisited, though perhaps this time with the collective force behind them to actually bring them to fruition.
One thing for sure, we cannot not try. We cannot put the study and the recommendations made in it up on the proverbial shelf with no effort to move it, and this community forward.
A part of the process now is to seek feedback and ideas from the community. If you are interested, we invite you to take a moment to review the executive summary and the recommended actions below and submit your ideas, thoughts and feedback to Leigh Acevedo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advanced manufacturing includes aviation and aerospace, materials and resins, industrial machinery and food processing.
Recommended action by SRI International:
• Focus on technical training in middle, high and post grad
• Communicate career pathways to K12 students and parents
• Strengthen industry collaboration to recruit skilled workers from military and develop programs for recruiting outside region in short term.
Start-Ups and International
SRI International initially put start-ups and international into the same category so the recommended actions are similar. The teams will be separate.
• Develop virtual incubator/entrepreneurial boot camp associated with professional managed seed/venture capital fund
• Further develop and strengthen networks and “no wrong door” structure
Materials and Design
Design is one of the most important components of innovation in today’s economy. Materials and Design include industrial design and materials science research.
• Develop business plan for collaborative research and design center
• Identify potential partners for research and marketing
• Work with national organizations for design to develop a new design conference, which brings executives and thought leaders to Savannah
Logistics and Transportation
Includes the Port of Savannah, marine transportation, logistics and warehousing and export/import and other transportation support services.
• Approach SAP about establishing a local office and business plan for attracting software logistics companies that specialize in developing applications for the SAP infrastructure
• Leverage Port of Savannah and local companies as “test bed” for logistics R&D activities
Includes film, TV, digital media, computer animation, game design, special effects and more.
• Due diligence and exploration of city and state incentives for sound stage project
• Business plan for attracting SCAD digital media alumni to start companies in Savannah or using alumni connections to attract outsourcing by major companies
• Funding for indigenous small film, TV or digital media projects
We would like to hear your comments and thoughts before April 20. Hope we do!
Vice President, Competitiveness