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