The Growth Partnership is taking a very hard look at “economic gardening” as a future strategy to home-grow the next generation growth companies in the county.
A recent Site Selection Magazine article heralds the benefits of economic gardening to local economies. Economic gardening is an economic development approach with fine attention to smaller companies with growth potential. This “grow from within” development strategy started in Littleton, Colo., in 1989 after the relocation of a major employer devastated the local economy. Precisely because of this harsh history, economic gardening became associated with small businesses, specifically eschewing economic recruitment or a focus on larger employers.
According to the Edward Lowe Foundation, between 1995 and 2012, second-stage companies represented 11.6 percent of establishments, but 33.9 percent of jobs. Employee numbers and revenue ranges vary by industry, but the population of firms with 10 to 100 employees and/or $750,000 to $50 million in receipts includes the vast majority of second-stage companies.
We believe a properly focused economic gardening program in Ashtabula County can jumpstart business and job growth in the county’s communities. One idea is to customize the program to the needs and opportunities of each community in the county.