Melina Kennedy released a plan to grow the economy and create jobs in Indianapolis. For your consideration, I am publishing the plan in full. You can see it on Kennedy's website here.
Kennedy Announces Plan to Create Jobs and Grow the Indianapolis Economy
September 06, 2011
Kennedy’s Plan to Create Jobs and Grow the Indianapolis Economy
Indianapolis must reclaim its position as an engine of job growth for central Indiana and the State of Indiana. Indianapolis faces enormous challenges with the loss of more than 35,000 jobs in the last three years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Having spent the last eighteen months meeting with over 100 local business owners to learn about barriers to their businesses, a consistent message emerged: the Mayor must do more work with our existing business owners, particularly our often-neglected small- and medium-sized businesses, to create an environment where they can thrive and create well-paying jobs. We also must foster entrepreneurialism and develop and train our workforce if we are to provide a base of employers in the future and supply workers who can meet employers’ needs. In particular, there are four consistent areas where the City must do better:
· Promoting job creation by reducing barriers and burdens,
· Promoting growth of local small business through strategic use of city resources,
· Improving leadership on local workforce development, and
· Fostering and supporting local entrepreneurialism.
The following initiatives are things a Kennedy Administration would do to enhance entrepreneurialism, support small- and medium-sized businesses, and prime the Indianapolis economy for job growth:
I. Promoting Job Creation by Reducing Barriers and Burdens:
The Challenge: For small and medium-sized businesses in particular, navigating state and local tax, permitting, and regulatory issues is time-consuming and diverts these companies from their primary business purposes. Over the last four years, changes in the structure of the city administration have made it more cumbersome and difficult to navigate the process. If the City truly wants to be known as a place that fosters the growth of our small and medium-sized businesses and maximizes their job-creation capabilities, we must do better at providing these businesses with the tools they need to address regulatory and permitting issues. To solve these problems, a Kennedy Administration will:
Business 411 Initiative:
· Provide a single point of contact (via a combination of phone, e-mail and website access to information) where the City will answer business-related questions, connect businesses with appropriate agencies or offices, and provide other help problem solving information for issues facing local businesses. Promotes efficiency and ease for businesses.
· Conduct training and provide updated information for City employees, and in particular, neighborhood liaisons so that they can more readily provide information resident entrepreneurs and business owners in our neighborhoods.
Educational Webinars; Business Owner's Guide:
· Implement a quarterly webinar explaining how to navigate particularly complex aspects of the local tax, regulatory, and permitting environment, which often are overwhelming for small and new businesses.
· Create a "Business Owner's Guide to City Government" to make working with the City more user-friendly.
Annual Business Climate Surveys:
· Conduct a survey to determine the "State of Business" (i.e., overall health of local business and identify regulatory and permitting issues of concern) for our local community each year.
· Conduct performance surveys of various City agencies that interact with business owners.
· Assign a troubleshooter to address the prior year's concerns by communicating with appropriate people, departments and agencies.
II. Promoting Growth of Local Small Business Through Strategic Use of City Resources:
The Challenge: In recent years, the Mayor has spent a disproportionate amount of time on traveling the world in hopes of attracting large foreign investment to the detriment of local businesses and their needs. The Mayor of Indianapolis should spend the most time where most job-creation occurs: Locally. To enhance our local business growth, a Kennedy Administration will:
Existing business outreach and “Think Indy" Campaign for Local Businesses:
· Devote section of City website where businesses register as “locally grown” and create a search capability that will allow residents to search for a local business by product or service type.
· Launch “Think Indy” campaign encouraging evaluation of Indianapolis businesses when they make a purchase.
· Conduct extensive outreach to existing businesses (with the mayor and appropriate staff) to regularly communicate with the existing business community about their issues and concerns.
Collaborative Capital Commission:
· Create a Collaborative Capital Commission consisting of 15 to 20 Indianapolis business leaders charged with the mission of supporting small- and medium-sized businesses in the community.
· Mentors will deliver business mentoring advice to local business owners that have applied to, and been approved by, the Commission to participate.
Community Advantage Pilot Initiative:
· Create partnerships with community-based lenders so that Indianapolis can join the Small Business Administration's Community Advantage Pilot initiative to reach underserved small businesses.
Promote Small Business Development Throughout Our Community – Minority and Women Business Owners:
· Encourage minorities and women to create and grow new businesses, and provide support to such businesses during their early growth stages. Explore reciprocity or better coordination between and state and local certification processes to streamline the process.
III. Improving Leadership on Local Workforce Development:
The Challenge: Indianapolis is home to some of the most talented human capital, and our world-class universities and colleges provide a ready supply of raw materials and human capital to meet most workforce needs of our local employers. Nonetheless, for those who are struggling in the workforce or struggling to make their way into the workforce, we need to ensure they have access to continuing education and skills-building to ensure that they have the appropriate type and level of skills needed by our employers. This requires a better understanding of our current workforce and business’s needs; and it requires a more comprehensive approach to all segments of the workforce, including youth and ex-offenders seeking re-entry into the community. To address these needs, a Kennedy Administration will:
Neighborhood-Level Workforce Assessment:
· Work with local companies in an effort to increase hiring in particularly hard hit neighborhoods, and collaborate with the community colleges and other workforce development partners to direct targeted training resources to these neighborhoods so that the neighborhood residents will fit the needs of hiring companies.
Develop the City's Emerging Clusters Through Asset Mapping, Marketing and Cluster Specific Workforce Development:
· Work with business community to ensure comprehensive, up-to-date asset mapping is done for the most promising industry clusters; and link individuals, organizations and institutions with a common goal of growing each such sector. Companies in the technology, life sciences, clean energy, and motor sports sectors, among others, are key to developing our workforce skills and training, but the City has not helped support and spur these sectors to the degree needed.
· Market cluster strengths regionally, extending to Indiana's colleges and universities where cluster innovation drivers often originate.
Focusing on Youth, Coordinating with Schools and Neighborhood Community Centers, and Addressing Re-entry:
· Work with local companies in an effort to develop tomorrow's workforce by offering a series of experiences for youth, preparing them to choose a career path and build a self-sufficient life. These experiences will include: job shadowing, summer jobs, career pathway initiatives in high schools and working with employers and community centers to provide a Summer Job experience for 1000 kids within in two years.
· Coordinate and expand upon current work within community and neighborhood centers to improve on current job training efforts, including cross training and awareness of job opportunities between community and neighborhood centers, and assure grass roots outreach to workers. Similarly, work with schools to provide information and linkages to families in need of job training to help move families out of poverty.
· Create a more effective approach to address the employment challenges of ex-offenders seeking to re-enter the community. The City will partner with businesses, the Department of Corrections, Marion County Probation, community centers and other key stakeholders to help returning offenders assimilate back into the community, a key aspect of which is finding stable employment, with specific sector training, expanded job banks for ex-offenders and expanding transitional job opportunities.
IV. Fostering and Supporting local Entrepreneurialism:
The Challenge: As other economies have developed around the world, it has become increasingly difficult to compete on the basis of hard work and productivity alone. Today, successful businesses must also possess entrepreneurial drive, capacity for innovation, and adaptation to rapidly changing markets. Consequently, we must now find ways to also identify, cultivate, and support entrepreneurialism. To spur such entrepreneurialism, a Kennedy Administration will:
Proof of Concept Partnerships:
· Create a "proof of concept" partnership with local educational institutions to support entrepreneurs who may be engaged in full-time careers yet looking for a way to develop their innovations, and pair entrepreneurs and MBA students looking for real world opportunities to jointly develop an early-stage business plan for the entrepreneur's innovative concept.
Angel Funding Promotion:
· Establish a partnership with an equity capital sourcing technology platform to identify local, emerging high growth companies that may need access to equity capital and link these companies with the local investment community.
Entrepreneur Engagement Initiative:
· Work with organizations focused on talent attraction and retention to engage in a targeted marketing campaign to bring back successful entrepreneurs who are originally from the state, and identify emerging entrepreneurial talents encourage them to start their careers in Indianapolis.
· Identify opportunities to recruit entrepreneurial talent internationally, leveraging the resources and access to entrepreneurial talent of institutions like Indiana University, Purdue University and IUPUI.
Future Entrepreneurs Initiative:
· Identify and partner with local entrepreneurs to fund merit scholarships for Marion County high school graduates who have demonstrated entrepreneurial endeavors. The scholarship recipient will continue to develop and refine his or her business plan during college with other scholarship winners and local entrepreneurial mentors, and will be obligated to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity in Indianapolis for at least two years after graduation.
Technology Seed Fund:
· Help support and grow local technology seed funds, such as TechPoint’s current funding initiative to support technology sector companies.