Events over the past few years, such as the global pandemic, accelerated business disruption and have re-written what it means for cities and regions to be competitive for jobs and talent. Leaders in thriving communities (many that the Greater Lexington region competes against) are turning to regional collaboration to improve their competitive advantage and leverage resources more effectively.
Cities like Raleigh, Austin and Columbus are good examples of cities/regions where business and government leaders work together on a common vision for economic development and talent attraction to help their regions grow and prosper.
Regional Collaboration in the Greater Lex Bluegrass Region
For many years, Commerce Lexington has worked within a 9-county region (700,000+ population) in Central Kentucky for job recruitment and retention activities, public policy advocacy and leadership development.
The Greater Lex Bluegrass Region includes Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford counties.
Given the rapidly changing economic landscape, Commerce Lexington, along with regional leaders, recognized the need to reposition and create the first-ever regional competitiveness strategy to elevate our regional approach. In 2021, Ted Abernathy with Economic Leadership was hired to evaluate global and national economic trends and the region’s economy; and assess regional strengths, weaknesses, growth opportunities.
He also examined how the region compares to competitor cites/regions based on key competitiveness factors in four overarching categories: business climate (taxes, regulations), innovation (entrepreneurial ecosystem, R&D investments), workforce development (education, training, attraction, quality of life) and infrastructure (roads, water/sewer, utilities/broadband, housing). Overall, the region ranked in the middle of the pack compared to other competitor cities (Nashville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis), but the region’s quality of life score was extremely high.
During the strategy development phase of this project, regional leaders in partnership with Commerce Lexington identified 6 key takeaways for the Greater Lex Bluegrass Region:
Regional collaboration can be difficult, but it is necessary for success when competing against much larger metros.
To learn more about the Regional Competitiveness Strategy and the action initiatives, click here.
You can also learn more about The Regional Competitiveness Strategy by attending The Regional Summit on November 29, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington. For more information, go here.