Ensuring Diversity of Local Business Ecosystems

By Jennifer Davis

quinntheislander / Pixabay

Joshua Kauffman, principle at Wisdom Capital Partners, is a well-respected global consultant who regularly talks about the confluence of global spaces, cultures and commerce. He often uses the example of the city of Buffalo, New York, which has never been the same since Bethlehem Steel pulled out, taking 100,000 jobs out of the local economy. He advises that cities, like ecosystems of other types, require diversity to survive over time. When a city is a “one tricky pony,” there is a real risk in the case of a downturn in one business or industry. Putting thousands of people directly at risk and hundreds of thousands indirectly at risk as newly unemployed people spend less on services and goods in the community.

Think about your own town or city. Look up the list of top employers. Is it diverse enough to weather a storm? In Portland, Oregon, there is a big sports and outdoor apparel segment, a growing technology sector, and a number of thriving healthcare systems. It might be more recession proof than other cities, but is not necessarily bringing new investment into the region as it tends to flux with demographics like population and age.

We know the role that governments can play in building diversity in our communities. But what about the role of the individual? Here are six ways you can build the resiliency and diversity of your city’s ecosystem:

  1. We can all shop local. Not just the day after Black Friday, but every day. I am guilty of purchasing online for its convenience and sometimes cost savings. However, I’d like to see those big online stores make it easier for consumers like me to shop local using their vast networks. I’d like to be able to filter search results for products that are produced (or even warehoused) locally. I like how UberEats is enabling local restaurants to add a service delivery element, employing local drivers. I’d like to see the same from Amazon, Etsy, and other companies who have the infrastructure and brand awareness to help us invest in our local communities.
  2. Entrepreneurs play a role in diversifying the business landscape with investments in new segments. This includes spin-outs of other business. My company, Planar, was a spin-off from Tektronix over 30 years ago and we have gone on to spin off other companies, like InFocus. We were recently acquired, bringing foreign investment to our region. Many companies that are now employing people in our area have spun out of Intel, Tek, Nike, and some of the larger employers in the region.
  3. As employees, we all can work within our own companies to add diversity across different industries and verticals to give resiliency to our own businesses. Are there new ways we can attract new customers, utilize resources and vendors in our local area, innovate for new market or product segments, or think bigger to ensure that we are bolstering our own communities?
  4. We can make personal investments in education in our communities and our homes, with a focus Go to the full article.

    Source:: Business 2 Community

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