The Importance of a Diversified Economy

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"Don't put all your eggs in one basket," is a proverbial saying used to emphasize the importance of spreading resources and efforts across multiple sectors to reduce risk. When a community has a variety of industries, products that they produce, and skill sets their employees possess, that community is better able to absorb the shock of market trends. An economy cannot and will not grow if it counts on a single form of industry, revenue, or skill set.

In 2014, Grow Grand Island partners rallied around the importance of diversification in our local economy. Six target markets were identified as ones Grand Island should focus its efforts on for business attraction and expansion. These target areas will ensure the community's foundation continues to be built on sustainable, reliable, and diversified revenue streams while strengthening the workforce. These are: manufacturing, transportation & logistics, travel & tourism, business support services, corporate & professional services, and sustainable processes & technologies (visit growgrandisland.com for a full list).

The Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC) acts as the business recruitment arm of Grand Island, focusing on both internal and external expansion opportunities. The target markets identified in Grow Grand Island serve as guidelines as we work in a conscious effort to avoid oversaturation of any one industry. Both outbound and inbound marketing efforts are geared towards this diversification.

Oversaturation of industries in a community is not a new concept. With the decline in the American auto industry, Detroit, Michigan has been a go-to example of the negative impacts a failing industry can have on a community. A Nebraska community could potentially face this same dilemma. One of their largest employers, employing nearly 25% of the town, is being challenged by an investor and may even be forced to close its doors. This reduction in the labor force or all together closure would be extremely detrimental to the community. Not only would the community's workforce, tax base, housing market, and school system be impacted, but also outlier businesses such as transportation, logistics, information technology, call centers, and retail businesses located in towns across the United States.

With Grow Grand Island partners and well-thought-out target markets, we believe Grand Island is on the right track. The EDC will continue to work toward recruiting and attracting a wide variety of industries and talents to our community.