The “Great Recession” taught theworld manylessons – among them, the importance of diversification: when one industry falters, others can pick up the slack.
The Southeast Region, for example, can target clusters such as agribusiness, consumer foods and beverages, and defense suppliers – companies that can do well in just about any economy. We can also target industries whose fortunes track national and global economic performance.
Economic diversity and scale empower global competitiveness. That is a hallmark of regionalism – and it works. Regionalism weaves diverse communities together to share resources, information and talent. They can then unite to overcome obstacles and embrace opportunities. In terms of marketing, a compelling regional brand enables both our rural and urban counties to navigate the fast-shifting economic landscape.
Prosperity requires the public and private sectors to be on the same page. Here again, regionalism is a catalyst. In thinking and acting across county lines we’re in a better position to harness ideas and leadership from companies that know what it takes to win in a global marketplace. Regionalism also provides a venue for governmental leaders to work with businesses – and each other – to ensure we have the public-policy backdrop necessary for sustained economic success.
In Southeastern North Carolina, economic development resembles a twin-piston engine that taps creativity, clout and contacts from both our public and private sectors. Each contributes to the process financially, too, which enables our partnership to take the region’s case to global businesses in a forceful, focused way.
Inweathering whatever winds may lie ahead, regionalism is the answer for us.