Economic gardening arrives in Utah

Economic gardening – an entrepreneur-centered approach to economic development – has arrived in Utah and could lead to hundreds or thousands of new home-grown jobs.

The National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG), an affiliate of the Edward Lowe Foundation, has introduced an economic gardening pilot project in Utah in cooperation with the Carbon County economic development office.

Through this innovative program, NCEG will offer specialized assistance from its National Strategic Research Team (NSRT) to qualifying companies in Carbon and Emery counties. What kind of assistance will these companies receive? 

According to NCEG, economic gardening programs offer far more than traditional business assistance programs. Economic gardening specialists help CEOs in growth-oriented companies “identify issues that are hindering growth and then leverage high-powered databases, geographic information systems, search engine optimization and social media tools that CEOs can apply immediately.” They also “help[] CEOs build stronger teams, identify new markets and sharpen their competitive edge.”

Companies are selected for assistance based on the following criteria: “growth in number of employees, impact of the business in the job market, increase in gross revenues, classification in targeted industries, innovativeness of the product or service, and other criteria deemed appropriate.” Companies that wish to participate can apply here.

Economic gardening is a new approach to economic development that has a proven track record. It has helped entrepreneurs across the nation gain access to the tools and resources they need to grow their companies, which has led to thousands of new jobs and other economic activity.

For example, Florida recently concluded a two-year statewide economic gardening pilot program that led to 3,285 jobs, $510.4 million in economic activity and $18.2 million in tax revenues (beyond the cost of the program) with only a $3.5 million investment.Florida now has not only thousands more jobs but also additional tax revenue that could fund a year’s public education for 2,074 students inFlorida, or 2,858 students in Utah.

Utah’s new pilot project is one of 18 projects NCEG currently operates in 15 different states.1

We hope the Castle Country Economic Gardening Pilot Program in Utah will prove successful as have programs in other states, and we hope it can eventually expand statewide to benefit all companies in Utah. We will update you on the results.


1 Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming

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15 Responses to Economic gardening arrives in Utah

  1. yintercept says:

    So, Sutherland advocates a state which considers itself a gardener that spreads the fertilizer on those in political favor and poisons the rest as weeds.

    Being one of the people considered a weed, this doesn’t sound like a very good plan.

    I filed this in my examples of why Sutherland is an enemy of freedom:

    http://blog.yintercept.com/2012/05/utah-takes-up-gardening.html

    • Matthew Piccolo says:

      What is your understanding of what we’re advocating as economic gardening?  Based on your blog post it sounds like we agree.  For example, see this paper
      http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploads/Outside_the_Box-Thoughts_on_Utahs_Corporate_Incentive_Program.pdf
      and this one
      http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/EconomicGardeningUtah.pdf 

      • yintercept says:

         The articles say that you are supporting a very limited “pilot program” with the name “Economic Gardening.” The problem is that there is no possible way to contain the idea when you moved from a well constrained pilot program to a full scale public policy.

        The moment a public official takes to the notion that he is an economic gardener, that official will start behaving in negative ways … even if the pilot program was limited.

        If you look at the 111th Congress, most of their really bad ideas were drawn from ideas toyed with by Republicans and free market think tanks.

        The insurance mandates, health exchanges, cap and trade all were crazy ideas toyed with by Conservative think tanks.

        One fault of Conservatives is that they get too caught up in issues line “entrepreneurship,” when the real heart of the free market is economic freedom.

        When conservative think tanks get too caught up in promoting “entrepreneurship” the left counters by creating programs that favor the “entrepreneur” class over other classes.

        But, entrepreneurship is not the foundation of a free market. Freedom is, and the programs that favor “entrepreneurs” over others quickly lead to imbalances, and the left demands more government programs to address the imbalance.

        • Matthew Piccolo says:

          Thanks for your reply.  I definitely recognize that a good idea can be taken by someone else and used in a way the creator of the idea didn’t intend.  I don’t think that means people should stop coming up with good ideas.

          Economic gardening — helping connect entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to grow — is an initiative that is being done both through private and public means in various cities, counties, and states around the country.  As explained in the paper I linked to, we are advocating for the concept of economic gardening generally, and we have recommended that it be funded and run privately, and that government play only a coordinating role in those efforts.

          Once a private or public entity runs with an idea, we can continue to advocate for our ideal, but, in the end, they decide what they’re going to do with it.  While this new initiative in central Utah is a public/private partnership, we support the project as an alternative to economic development policies currently in place like targeted tax incentives and other favors for large corporations.  In the mean time, we’ll continue to advocate for using private resources for any economic gardening initiative in the state.

          • yintercept says:

             Yes “helping connect entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to grow” is a great business model.

            For that matter, there’s already thousands of entities executing variations of this business model. Off the top of my head, I can think of BuzzBoosters, the Alta Club, the Chambers of Commerce, The Miller Institute, SCORE, etc..

            There is a huge business expo at SouthTowne Tomorrow.

            If you add to this all of the networking, professional associations, angel investors, business incubators, business brokers, business schools, then you have a crowded space.

            So, the question is: “what differentiates ‘Economic Gardening’ from the thousands of existing entities?”

            The two things that differentiate your business model from the thousands of private entities executing the same business model are: government connections and the metaphor.

          • Matthew Piccolo says:

            Yes, agreed on the resources out there.  As I said, we’re advocating for a private model, and if government chooses to get involved, it’s still better than economic “hunting” programs.  If government has any role in economic “development,” a coordinating role is one I can accept, which is what we are proposing.  

  2. yintercept says:

    So, Sutherland advocates a state which considers itself a gardener that spreads the fertilizer on those in political favor and poisons the rest as weeds.

    Being one of the people considered a weed, this doesn’t sound like a very good plan.

    I filed this in my examples of why Sutherland is an enemy of freedom:

    http://blog.yintercept.com/2012/05/utah-takes-up-gardening.html

    • Matthew Piccolo says:

      What is your understanding of what we’re advocating as economic gardening?  Based on your blog post it sounds like we agree.  For example, see this paper
      http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploads/Outside_the_Box-Thoughts_on_Utahs_Corporate_Incentive_Program.pdf
      and this one
      http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/EconomicGardeningUtah.pdf 

      • yintercept says:

         The articles say that you are supporting a very limited “pilot program” with the name “Economic Gardening.” The problem is that there is no possible way to contain the idea when you moved from a well constrained pilot program to a full scale public policy.

        The moment a public official takes to the notion that he is an economic gardener, that official will start behaving in negative ways … even if the pilot program was limited.

        If you look at the 111th Congress, most of their really bad ideas were drawn from ideas toyed with by Republicans and free market think tanks.

        The insurance mandates, health exchanges, cap and trade all were crazy ideas toyed with by Conservative think tanks.

        One fault of Conservatives is that they get too caught up in issues line “entrepreneurship,” when the real heart of the free market is economic freedom.

        When conservative think tanks get too caught up in promoting “entrepreneurship” the left counters by creating programs that favor the “entrepreneur” class over other classes.

        But, entrepreneurship is not the foundation of a free market. Freedom is, and the programs that favor “entrepreneurs” over others quickly lead to imbalances, and the left demands more government programs to address the imbalance.

        • Matthew Piccolo says:

          Thanks for your reply.  I definitely recognize that a good idea can be taken by someone else and used in a way the creator of the idea didn’t intend.  I don’t think that means people should stop coming up with good ideas.

          Economic gardening — helping connect entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to grow — is an initiative that is being done both through private and public means in various cities, counties, and states around the country.  As explained in the paper I linked to, we are advocating for the concept of economic gardening generally, and we have recommended that it be funded and run privately, and that government play only a coordinating role in those efforts.

          Once a private or public entity runs with an idea, we can continue to advocate for our ideal, but, in the end, they decide what they’re going to do with it.  While this new initiative in central Utah is a public/private partnership, we support the project as an alternative to economic development policies currently in place like targeted tax incentives and other favors for large corporations.  In the mean time, we’ll continue to advocate for using private resources for any economic gardening initiative in the state.

          • yintercept says:

             Yes “helping connect entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to grow” is a great business model.

            For that matter, there’s already thousands of entities executing variations of this business model. Off the top of my head, I can think of BuzzBoosters, the Alta Club, the Chambers of Commerce, The Miller Institute, SCORE, etc..

            There is a huge business expo at SouthTowne Tomorrow.

            If you add to this all of the networking, professional associations, angel investors, business incubators, business brokers, business schools, then you have a crowded space.

            So, the question is: “what differentiates ‘Economic Gardening’ from the thousands of existing entities?”

            The two things that differentiate your business model from the thousands of private entities executing the same business model are: government connections and the metaphor.

          • Matthew Piccolo says:

            Yes, agreed on the resources out there.  As I said, we’re advocating for a private model, and if government chooses to get involved, it’s still better than economic “hunting” programs.  If government has any role in economic “development,” a coordinating role is one I can accept, which is what we are proposing.  

  3. Pingback: Utah Takes Up Gardening | Sago

  4. Matthew Piccolo says:

    What is your understanding of what we’re advocating as economic gardening?  Based on your blog post it sounds like we agree.  For example, see this paper  

    http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploads/Outside_the_Box-Thoughts_on_Utahs_Corporate_Incentive_Program.pdf and this one 
    http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/EconomicGardeningUtah.pdf

  5. Matthew Piccolo says:

    What is your understanding of what we’re advocating as economic gardening?  Based on your blog post it sounds like we agree.  For example, see this paper  

    http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploads/Outside_the_Box-Thoughts_on_Utahs_Corporate_Incentive_Program.pdf and this one 
    http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploaded_files/sdmc/EconomicGardeningUtah.pdf

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