Local economic development: embrace the virtuous circle

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A brief by Elise Baudelet, junior expert in territorial marketing – CAAC

Some argue that economic development and social improvement cannot be managed together as their objectives are different. However, territorial marketing promotes an integrated strategy that aims to enhance jointly both aspects.

In the past, a role differentiation imposed that public institutions took care of social cohesion, upgrading local life quality, helping ddisadvantaged population to enter into the economic flows whereas private sector fostered investments and generated local wealth and jobs. However, social sustainability is critical for territorial competitiveness and long term economic growth. Before investing or implementing a business, specialized agencies or companies assess place attractiveness usually using these figures:
• Employment rate evolution (private sector)
• Unemployment rate
• Companies employment needs evolution
• Number of companies creation
• Patents published
• Population growth

Consequently, companies are not only interested in indicators from private sectors but also in innovation and knowledge, the evolution of local population and its structure. Firms may consider as well the education rate (local talents available), the legal rules or the institutional supports. Territories need to attract businesses to boost local economy and that depends on social opportunities.

Therefore, private and public sectors should collaborate for the creation of value in cities by upgrading human resources and social capital, increasing new technology access, valorising innovation and entrepreneurship. The Atlantic Arc Cities projects (for instance social innovation projects as ANATOLE or IMAGINAATLANTICA) have embraced this ambition, creating co-working opportunities to enhance the local economy as a mean for global territories improvement.

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