Hickey Global works with a variety of clients from diverse communities. Priorities for plans and strategies change based on local values and characteristics. Despite the differences in pursuing economic development, the concept of equity has become increasingly central. Equitable economic development exceeds GDP growth; it emphasizes fairness, inclusivity, and accessibility. Economic development organizations play a pivotal role in shaping policies and initiatives that can either exacerbate or alleviate existing inequalities. This blog delves into the essence of equitable economic development and explores integration strategies for economic development organizations that want to bring equity into their work.
Equitable economic development strives to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all members of society, regardless of their socioeconomic background. This approach acknowledges and addresses historical disparities, systemic barriers, and social injustices that have marginalized certain communities. It seeks to create an environment where everyone has equal opportunities to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic progress.
A few principles of equitable economic development include the following:
Barrier Abolishment: Get rid of systemic barriers that hinder the economic advancement of marginalized groups. Revisit your governing framework and reform discriminatory practices within policies, regulations, and institutional frameworks.
Investing in Education and Workforce Development: Prioritize investments in education and workforce development programs that target underserved communities. By providing accessible training and skill-building opportunities, economic development organizations can empower individuals to participate in the evolving job market, boost the labor pool, and gain some competitiveness for attraction and retention.
Inclusive Decision-Making: Economic development organizations should actively involve representatives from diverse communities in decision-making. In doing so, policies and initiatives better reflect the needs and aspirations of all segments of society.
Actively Promoting Equitable Access: Ensure that resources, such as funding, infrastructure, and business support services, are distributed equitably. This may involve creating financial mechanisms that specifically target businesses in underserved areas.
Measuring and Monitoring Equity: Establish clear metrics and benchmarks to assess the impact of economic development initiatives on equity. Regular monitoring allows for adjustments and improvements in strategies to address the evolving needs of diverse communities better. To get extra ESGReady points, you can take this tracking element further and make the data that tracks progress toward this measure available to the public.
If you’re in an economic development organization and don’t know where to start on advancing equity in your community, think about actively engaging your community members to understand their unique challenges and aspirations. Collaborate with local stakeholders in government or outside agencies to coordinate efforts and gain broad support. Finally, help other groups build capacity to do the great work that advances your efforts and allows you to focus on driving the core economic development priorities that practitioners can execute best.
Equitable economic development is not just a moral imperative but a strategic necessity for sustainable and resilient societies. Hickey Global knows how crucial economic developers are in shaping the future, and by embracing equity, they can foster an environment where all share prosperity. These organizations can create a more just and prosperous society by implementing inclusive policies and collaborating with diverse stakeholders. Our team would love to connect with you to discuss equitable economic development and the strategies driving the mission forward. Connect with us today to learn more.
Hickey Global Economic Development Consulting (Hickey Global) is a full-service economic development consulting firm that supports private, public, and non-profit economic development organizations worldwide. As part of the Hickey Family of global advisory companies, Hickey Global offers access to leading location advisory talent, robust technical resources, and cutting-edge data analytics across 25 offices on five continents, ensuring the ability to create custom solutions that help communities prosper.