The Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) is a driving force behind the economic growth and development...
Redefining Economic Development Through the Voice of Local Business
In my role as a site selection and government affairs consultant, my goal was to help businesses choose the perfect city for expansion and relocation projects. Each business I worked with had a unique set of criteria, making the task both rewarding and challenging.
Diverse priorities were a constant. Sometimes, the focus was on city infrastructure. Other times, the need was workforce and wage data. However, two recurring challenges consistently complicated our search.
First, the process of gathering reliable data was fragmented. The accessibility/affordability of cutting-edge analytics tools was limited, both for us and the cities we collaborated with. Second, my clients lacked a streamlined way to access the experiences of local companies. They knew their peers held valuable insights beyond the reach of data and economic developers.
These insights could answer critical questions:
- What is the business climate like in this city?
- How engaged and supportive is the local government?
- What is the real-time competitiveness of the hiring market?
Gaining access to these insights often necessitated on-site visits to local businesses. In the absence of direct connections, we navigated the landscape based on trust. Could we trust the local officials and Economic Development Organizations to deliver on workforce development and hiring promises? Could we have confidence in a smooth permitting process? And ultimately, could we be assured of sustained support and success after years of business in that city?
Conversely, economic developers had to trust us. Trust that we really had an expansion project underway and we weren’t just fishing for incentives. Trust that we were going to hire and retain a certain number of jobs. That we were going to live up to our promises of growth. And trust that time spent with us would be worth it in the end.
While acknowledging the intricate economic development landscape, I felt there had to be a better way to streamline decision making and introduce transparency. With the help of industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs, we embarked on a mission to create an innovative Economic Development and Site Selection Platform, Scout. Our platform enables companies companies make better location decisions through city data, incentives, and peer reviews.. Equally important, we empower Economic Developers to amplify the voice of local businesses, advocating, "Don't just trust us, trust fellow businesses. This is a great city for business.”
The creation of Scout represents our dedication to facilitating meaningful interactions and transparent insights. By bridging the gap between economic developers and growing businesses, we aspire to foster a stronger, more connected community that thrives on shared knowledge and collective growth.
It's about redefining the economic development industry by uniting its core constituents under a banner of trust, and in doing so, creating a legacy of thriving communities and thriving businesses. That is our vision. That is the power of Scout. Together, we will pave the way for economic prosperity, one review at a time.
Ryan Abramson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Scout.
He has been building high growth technology companies for the past 10 years. Ryan worked as a site selection and government affairs consultant for relocating businesses which led him to create the Scout platform..