Economic development program will learn what local ‘primary’ employers need to stay and grow.

Recognizing the importance of its current business base, the City’s Economic Development Department is launching a new Business Retention/Expansion Visitation Program.  As the core of economic development is relationship-building, the staff will start personally visiting the city’s primary employers as the first step in its outreach program.

“While we hear a great deal of talk about the need for additional job creation in communities across the country, most of the attention tends to be focused on recruiting new companies from elsewhere,” said Larry Burkhardt, Director of Economic Development for the City of Sacramento.  He points out that in most cities and towns, 70 percent or more of new job growth originates with the companies that are already operating in the community.  “It makes perfect sense that taking care of the community’s existing companies becomes a key element of an overall economic development strategy,” Burkhardt stated.

“Primary employers” are defined as those that generate the majority of their revenue by selling products or services outside the region.  The dollars resulting from those sales represent new money to the local economy.  It is this new money that is essential to the support of the local economy’s retail, service and professional sectors.

Visits with company executives will include conversations about company needs and opportunities. Check-ins will also be an opportunity to gather information about the company’s perception of its ability to attract and retain talent, regulation, training resources and the business climate.

Although the first priority of the Visitation Program is to identify and respond to individual company needs and opportunities, the data generated in the course of company visits will be aggregated in order to produce information on individual industry sector performance, common issues and trend data.  Individual company information discussed during a visit will be maintained as confidential.

The program is aligned with an overall Economic Development 3.0 plan being developed in conjunction with the Mayor’s office to include revitalizing priority neighborhoods, developing innovation zones and improving the city’s business climate.