Who are they and how do I engage them?
Identifying and engaging relevant stakeholders within a given economic development ecosystem enables employers, workers, and communities to grow and thrive. To discern which individuals and organizations should be invited to contribute within the economic development ecosystem, begin with those who have the means to drive change through resources such as Financial Capital, Human Assets, and Staffing Resources.
Target umbrella organizations to drive efficiency and consider niche organizations that are critical to your efforts. Make sure to include investors during this discovery phase as they may provide visibility and leverage.
Stakeholders that contribute capital (investors) are a given. Stakeholders who contribute products, services, and other value are the most difficult to identify and acquire. To begin, here are the general categories most stakeholders fall into:
- Educational/Workforce Institutions
- Local Businesses•
- Federal, State and Local Government Entities
- Transportation/Aviation Providers
Begin the process by conducting an Ecosystem Stakeholder Assessment:
The first step is to determine your current level of support by sorting all existing investors into their primary category. Then, using agreed upon criteria, determine how many stakeholders need to be added to each category to efficiently support the ecosystem.
At this stage, you will have identified all relevant economic development ecosystem stakeholders. Now you must engage them.
To fully realize the potential of an economic ecosystem, stakeholders must collaborate by communicating, coordinating, and sharing. How and why collaboration takes place within the ecosystem will determine the level of involvement and therefore effectiveness of each stakeholder category.
For more detail on developing a collaborative economic development ecosystem, visit a previous blog in this series, here: How to Develop a Collaborative Economic Development Ecosystem
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