A strong Interest and desire to see improvement in the economy is evident in the number of businesses responding to the invitation to participate in the Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative, as over 115 people registered to attend the informational Kick Off event held Tuesday, August 28 at Fox Hills Resort in Mishicot. The Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative is a five (5) County collaborative effort, led by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Manitowoc County and involving the EDC offices of Door, Calumet, Kewaunee, and Sheboygan Counties; The New North Regional Economic Development Organization; along with the Northeast Wisconsin and Lakeshore Technical Colleges. The Initiative engages businesses in Industry Cluster Network Teams to analyze and leverage assets and opportunities for additional business growth and development.
The targeted industries of Manufacturing, Food Processing/Agriculture, Energy and Tourism will be explored and analyzed in this process, with Tuesday’s program providing a look at some of the economic trends our area is experiencing, along with initial observations presented by Vital Economies, an economic development consulting firm specializing in industry cluster initiatives and hired to assist in the formation of the Lakeshore Cluster Initiative, as well as case study examples of how this process has worked in other regions of the country.
Representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, were also on hand to keep abreast of this important economic development programming for Lakeshore businesses and to provide insight on how the Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative might fit into the WEDC’s strategic plans for economic development on a state level.
The Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative Kick Off Event began at 8:30 AM and the agenda included, in addition to the above information, a Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative Overview; What makes it successful and why this contributes to a high-performing economic region for industry growth and development, along with what to consider in setting and understanding performance metrics to measure the success of the Initiative.
Industry Cluster Teams will be led by key industry leaders and representatives engaged in collectively identifying, mapping and leveraging assets for additional growth and development. This is where a Cluster Initiative varies from a Cluster Study. An Initiative is geared to action oriented with activities of the Initiative including:
Appropriate participants to be involved in the Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative and represented at Tuesday’s Kick Off event, include both businesses that are directly involved in an industry targeted, and businesses that support or serve the targeted industries, such as banks, engineering firms, educational institutions, and staffing agencies. Representatives from the businesses include CEOs, plant managers, operations managers, purchasing and inventory managers, engineers, human resource managers, research and development personnel, logistics managers and supervisors.
The Industry Cluster Teams will be supported by the region’s Economic Development Corporation staff members and contracted services provided by Vital Economies, the consulting firm hired to assist in the engagement and analysis.
The Kick Off of this Initiative marks an important date for the region and one that offers benefits for businesses to actively participate in this exciting and dynamic approach to business growth and economic development. As the EDC Board member, Tim Reis of Manitowoc Company relates: “We are at the beginning of the next cycle upturn. The regions that work together to develop a cohesive growth plan are going to be the winners during the next cycle.”