When EDCUtah was founded in 1987, Utah had a population of 1.7 million people and an economy largely dependent on manufacturing and mining. Many of our college graduates were leaving the state for better careers. In response, community leaders launched EDCUtah to diversify Utah’s economy by proactively attracting high-quality jobs and capital investment to the state. And it worked.
Today, Utah enjoys one of the most diverse economies in the nation and continues to land atop “best states” lists for both business and quality of life. Utah is also now home to over 3.4 million people. Until 2020, our population growth was driven by natural increase—the growth of Utah families. To quote Governor Spencer Cox in his press release for the new Guiding Our Growth survey, “The things that make Utah great are the things that make Utah grow.”
Those things include an unmatched quality of life that retains and attracts talented people and families, a young and highly educated workforce, a business-friendly tax and regulatory environment, development-ready real estate, and unparalleled transportation infrastructure. Utahns enjoy the rare combination of enviable lifestyle and economic prosperity we have today in no small part because of the foresight, strategy, and leadership of previous generations of economic development leaders across the state.
As a newly mid-sized state with a newly elite economy, the economic development strategies we need in 2023 will be different from those we needed in 1987. To that end, EDCUtah has developed its next five-year strategic plan. We collaborated with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, municipal government leaders, private-sector industry leaders, and community partners to develop our approach and we are proud of the outcome. The strategic plan is supported by three pillars: modernizing our business model, pivoting toward prosperity, and owning our collective story.
1. Modernizing Our Business Model
As a 501c6 public-private partnership, EDCUtah was founded on the principle that Team Utah is stronger together and that our community collectively benefits from individual economic development successes. We will build upon that partnership to clearly define our value proposition for investors, include investors from a wider range of industries, and broaden our base of support to ensure the success and longevity of our programs.
2. Pivoting Toward Prosperity
As Utah’s economic challenges and opportunities mature, we will evolve our focus from a growth orientation to a vision of long-term economic prosperity. EDCUtah will remain true to our core competencies—economic research, professional project management, strategic marketing, and community strategy—while narrowing our focus on strategic recruiting and retention targets by sector and geography.
In parallel, we will expand our impact by proactively partnering with peer organizations to catalyze future-focused investments and strategic economic opportunities statewide. These opportunities may be in the form of technology centers of excellence, infrastructure development, or other partnerships where EDCUtah leverages our unique “what’s coming down the pike” project data and our statewide network of experts to add momentum and alignment. In the next three years, these opportunities will likely be focused on areas of cohesion between state and federal investment priorities.
3. Owning Our Collective Story
In today’s Utah, where the topic of growth can be polarizing, communicating with nuance the value of continued and intentional economic development will be important to successfully executing our strategy. EDCUtah will be a source of valuable data, key messages, and success stories that demonstrate how strategic job growth and capital investment contribute to the prosperity and quality of life of communities across Utah.
EDCUtah investors represent many of the state’s leading voices in the business and local government spheres. Over the next five years, we will execute a communications strategy that amplifies the message of economic prosperity in collaboration with our partners. Our goal is to equip you with the tools and training to amplify a vision of economic prosperity—to your employees and customers if you’re a business, and to your residents and fellow leaders if you are a community leader.
EDCUtah is proud to have been a long-time partner in a tremendously successful statewide economic development strategy that guides capital investment and job creation to the places we need it most. We will keep you updated on our progress and look forward to working with you to deliver on our collective promise of prosperity for the next generation of aspiring Utahns.
Interested in the impacts of growth in Utah? Want to make sure your voice is part of the conversation about your community’s future? Take the new Guiding Our Growth survey. The survey closes at the end of August 2023. Utah state leaders are listening—take the time to be heard.
In the coming months, “The Prosperity Post” will highlight examples of the impact of your investment and EDCUtah’s work in communities across the state. Do you have a story you’d like us to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.