(photo courtesy of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership)

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has unveiled a three-year strategic plan it says outlines how the 11-county region will “continue to build an economically resilient region by increasing the region’s competitiveness to attract new investment.” The partnership says the development of the plan found that the region must pivot to compete for higher value-added economic activities instead of solely focusing on cost or incentives.

Partnership President and CEO Stephane Frijia tells Inside INdiana Business while the region will welcome businesses of all types, they are focusing on more high-value targets.

“When you look at those high-technology, high-wage paying type of operators, typically it’s a higher-level function; they require a higher level of skill. Obviously, there’s automation. There’s higher cap-ex,” said Frijia. “So, how we position ourselves to go after those types of operations that typically pay better wages, offer better benefits…that really becomes the driving force.”

The strategic plan outlines three key economic growth strategies:

  • Capturing business development opportunities and increasing transactional capabilities
  • Accelerating innovation and technology
  • Fostering alignment for equitable and inclusive job creation and competitiveness efforts across Northeast Indiana

“Creating an economically resilient community doesn’t happen overnight and businesses are invested in the growth of the region’s economy,” Don Cates, CEO of 3 Rivers Federal Credit Union and chair of the Regional Opportunities Council, which serves as the partnership’s investor board of business leaders, said in written remarks. “This 3-year roadmap will enhance Northeast Indiana’s ability to compete for businesses and talent in the global economy and build the economic resilience of our region and its businesses needs.”

The partnership says it has set key milestones to measure the region’s progress over the next three years. They include support for 190 new expansion and relocation projects, 20 new expansion and relocation projects won, and 3,000 net new jobs.

Frijia, who began his role in September, says the metrics and goals will also serve as a learning experience for the partnership to help fuel future growth.

“We don’t expect to win every single project,” he said. “But using the information from the other projects that perhaps went to other places in the Midwest or elsewhere, what information we can glean from the demand side of the equation. That can then allow us to further advance conversations about what type of products we’re building, what type of inventory we should have, what type of demands new employers that are making investments are looking at.”

He says that information will better prepare the region to have the resources in place to attract new businesses.

The partnership says the new strategic plan is a rolling plan, meaning they will review and adjust any goals or requirements as needed at the end of each year.

You can view the full strategic plan by clicking here.

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