Opinion: Project SlingShot is a new part of Next Economy

By Metro Chamber|November 13, 2015|News Coverage|

muellerbilltateishipeter8815-750xx1418-798-185-0On Nov. 4, the Sacramento Business Journal published a story about Project SlingShot — a powerful initiative of the California Workforce Development Board that encourages and supports regional partnerships across the state to engage in new collective actions that can move the needle on workforce challenges.

The Sacramento region, comprised of nine counties, is one of 10 California regions to receive approximately $1 million each in innovation grant funding to implement Project SlingShot.

The article suggested that SlingShot is a new economic plan replacing the region’s unified jobs and investment strategy known as Next Economy. But that’s not quite true. From its inception, SlingShot was not only viewed as an activity under the Next Economy banner, but our workforce boards positioned the state grant as an opportunity to act on the research findings and priorities set forth by Next Economy.

Next Economy charts five goals being pursued through partnerships across the region in order to diversify economic drivers and accelerate economic opportunity. SlingShot addresses three of them: foster a strong innovation environment; diversify the economy through growth and support of core business clusters; and grow and maintain a world-class talent base.

Ultimately, the workforce boards used Next Economy research as the launching point for Project SlingShot, and that directly led to entrepreneurship as the focal area.

The research showed that small businesses and emerging growth enterprises are the primary generators of new jobs and wealth, a sector that makes up more than 90 percent of all businesses in the Sacramento metropolitan area. It also found that our innovation “ecosystem” was underperforming in catalyzing business startups and growth.

Our SlingShot initiative consequently is customized to build up innovative businesses because both startups and more established firms increase economic productivity and make rising wages and income mobility possible.

With the active engagement of business leaders; community, education and government partners; and entrepreneurs themselves; SlingShot is developing an action plan that connects and leverages our assets into a high performance innovation ecosystem driving the next generation of entrepreneurship and business growth.

But SlingShot is really only one example of other major regional initiatives that can be cited as direct and meaningful outcomes that the Next Economy framework set in motion.

There’s also the Brookings Institute-sponsored Metro Export Plan; the Regional Business Cluster research update; the federal designation of Central Valley AgPlus as one of 24 regions in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership; and the $21 million in state grants to advance career-based education being administered by NextEd through Capital Region Career Academies for the Next Economy.

All told, our region’s public and private sector leaders are deeply engaged in high-value work that’s attracting millions in new investment and moving the needle on economic vitality, sparked in large part by the original vision of Next Economy.

Source: Sacramento Business Journal

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