Q: What drives high-wage growth, higher patenting rates, and economic resiliency?
A: Industry clusters.
Clusters are a regional concentration of related industries in a particular location. It isn’t just proximity that make clusters special, it’s that an entire value chain exists within a cluster: suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, academic institutions, researchers, and workforce training – which results in tight linkages, better market insights, larger spools of specialized talent, and faster deployment of new knowledge.
Clusters act as a catalyst for economic growth, enhancing productivity and spurring innovation. Consider the clusters that have blossomed around automobile factories in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (PDF), more than 460 “motor vehicle-related” facilities are now located in the state, employing more than 82,000 workers.
Recently launched, the U.S. Cluster Mapping Project is a national economic initiative that provides over 50 million open data records on industry clusters and regional business environments in the United States to promote economic growth and national competitiveness. The project is led by Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
The U.S. Cluster Mapping tool provide a powerful understanding of the industry dynamics shaping a regional economy and highlights opportunities for coordination and join action. It can also offer insights into new and emerging clusters in different regions. Charts and maps from the tool illustrate, for example, that the Lexington-Fayette MSA, generally regarded as the “Horse Capital of the World”, is also major center of biopharmaceutical development and printing services.
Rather than chasing investment in generically “attractive” industries, Commerce Lexington has long worked to strengthen the region’s distinctive competitive position in light of its location, existing strengths and industry mix, and business environment qualities. With one of the nation’s most educated populations, a low cost of living, ideal location and infrastructure, and a rich entrepreneurial history, it’s not hard to identify the Bluegrass Region’s unique value proposition. Click here to learn more about our strategic industry sector targets.
– CLX Economic Development Team
Commerce Lexington Update
- Commerce Lexington Inc. and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced that hydra, a manufacturer of aromatherapy and bath products to more than 2,000 retailers around the world, has moved its company headquarters from San Francisco to Lexington. Click here to read the press release.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded a State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) Grant to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which is designed to encourage and boost international trade among small businesses in the Commonwealth. The STEP program has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export.
- Commerce Lexington will host Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes for a Public Policy Breakfast on Wednesday, Oct. 15.