'Accelerate Indy' Makes Talent a Focus

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Michael Huber is CEO of the Indy Chamber. Michael Huber is CEO of the Indy Chamber.

The chief executive officer of the Indy Chamber says the new economic development strategy for the Indianapolis region places a strong focus on talent and homegrown expansion. Michael Huber says Accelerate Indy aims to help the nine-county region compete with other metropolitan areas throughout the country. He says, in order to boost the regional economy, talent must become a top priority in addition to traditional economic development strategies.

Huber says one of the main ways to attract and retain talent is to put a greater focus on entrepreneurship and small business growth.

"Traditionally, a lot of cities and regions have built their economic development strategies on getting companies to relocate from other communities, said Huber. "But, as a percentage, many more jobs are going to be created by our homegrown companies and companies that are already here so we're trying to figure out what tools could we bring that would help them expand and in many cases, it's reducing barriers to expansion."

The chamber says Accelerate Indy also has a major focus on global trade. Huber says there are hundreds of companies in central Indiana that have international buyers for their products but they've never taken a serious look at exporting or the process seems too daunting. "We've realized that we can provide a really valuable service by connecting them to markets in other countries that have growing demand for their services or products."

One of the projects already underway as part of Accelerate Indy is the Metro Indianapolis Global Trade and Investment Strategy, which encourages mid-sized companies in the region to become exporters and attract foreign investment.

The Brookings Institution has ranked Indianapolis 21st among the top 100 metropolitan areas adding jobs in advanced sectors, such as manufacturing, life sciences and technology. Huber says the Indy region is at a disadvantage to competitor regions in terms of quality of life investments, such as providing different options for mass transit and building a more connected city.

Huber says the chamber will continue its emphasis on international business and helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow through various services as the Accelerate Indy plan moves forward.

Huber says the plan has a greater focus on entrepreneurship and small business growth.
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