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Delaware Prosperity Partnership discusses role in economic development

March 7, 2019

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership held its first public meeting Feb. 19 at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. The theme was A Conversation on Economic Development, and the purpose was to inform the community of steps the public and private sectors are taking to promote and encourage economic growth through Delaware businesses.

Rob Rider, a DPP board member and CEO of O.A. Newton, a worldwide provider of PVC products based in Bridgeville, started by discussing the the role of the partnership in its goal to help Delaware prosper before introducing Gov. John Carney, who chairs the DPP board.

An audience of business owners, delegates and community members listened closely as Carney highlighted main points about his work with both the public and private sectors to bring business to Delaware and strengthen current businesses while promoting entrepreneurship. As businesses continue and begin to flourish, the focus on education will lead to a strong workforce available to fill diverse roles. Carney cited the need to improve and educate the workforce, and provide tools for people of all ages to learn trades while investing in higher education, courses, and technology.

“We are working to support and grow all sectors while cultivating an environment for business and individuals to succeed at a higher level than ever before,” said Carney.

Ed Kee, a DPP board member and former secretary of agriculture, highlighted the importance of farming and the rich agricultural history of Sussex County which has helped strengthen the economy for decades. 

“Farming and agriculture is such a noble industry, as it promotes increased economic activity and money going back into our state, while providing thousands and thousands of jobs. As much as agriculture is important to our needs, it is also important to our quality of life,” said Kee.

Delaware Prosperity Partnership President Kurt Foreman was introduced to outline some key points regarding the partnership’s operational assets. The DPP was formed after the Delaware Growth Agenda framework was laid, and it has been active since August 2017. Since then, it has worked with public and private sectors, gaining more than 30 private investors who contribute about $1.3 million per year to enhance opportunities and provide a budget for the DPP to fund several different campaigns and expenses.

Foreman explained the broadness of economic development, highlighting the gap between marketing and product development, and explaining how focusing on those gray areas is where growth occurs.

“We want to be the place where scale-able and dynamic businesses choose to come and grow along with our current companies. This is possible by creating diverse partnerships and creating tools to tell Delaware’s story alongside highlighting the many positive attributes Delaware has to offer,” said Foreman.

Major aspects include attracting new businesses, expanding current business, using innovation to support new and emerging sectors, and enhancing the state’s potential and current workforce with training and higher education. To promote the value of Delaware’s great resources and community to sectors including science and technology, food and agriculture, manufacturing and logistics, among others, the DPP takes a strong approach. Working with partners from major corporations down to local municipalities as well as the World Trade Center will help promote the entire state as a great home for the industries of focus while emphasizing transparency and communication among all parties involved, and helping find the best suitable sites for companies big and small.

In 2018, the DPP helped create 709 new jobs and retain 1,171 jobs in local industry while working on 49 active and potential projects, yielding a potential investment of $185 million.

After presentation of a case study and more information, which is available at www.deprosperitypartnership.com, a Q&A session was held so members of the audience could give feedback and ask questions of board members.

“The DPP can be the extra muscle in your community, and we are here to help on all levels from big to small as we focus on economic growth and education in our state,” said Carney.