Enterprising Cities: A Force for American Prosperity
About the Study
The study was prepared by Praxis Strategy Group and Joel Kotkin. Authors from the Praxis team include Delore Zimmerman, Matthew Leiphon, and Mark Schill. Gary Girod provided additional research. Praxis Strategy Group is an economic research and community strategy company that works with leaders and innovators in business, education, and government to create new economic opportunities. Joel Kotkin is an internationally recognized authority on global, economic, political, and social trends.
About Enterprising States and Cities
The Enterprising States and Cities program takes an in-depth look at the free enterprise policies that are being implemented to promote economic growth at the state and local levels. The inaugural edition of Enterprising Cities examines best practices in municipalities taking proactive measures to support job creation and economic growth together with the private sector. The Enterprising States study, now in its fourth edition, measures state performance overall and across five policy areas important for job growth and economic prosperity—exports and international trade; entrepreneurship and innovation; business climate; talent pipeline; and infrastructure. For more information on the state study, go to www.EnterprisingStates.com.
About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment. USCCF presents a broad range of programs that promote a greater understanding of economic and public affairs issues.
About the Campaign for Free Enterprise
The Campaign for Free Enterprise (CFE) is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s comprehensive, multiyear campaign to support free enterprise and entrepreneurship through national advertising; grassroots advocacy; citizen, community, and youth engagement; and research and ideas leadership.
A Force for American Prosperity in the 21st Century
Cities play a pivotal role as drivers of America’s economy by creating and sustaining the local ecosystem for innovation, competitiveness, and productivity through enterprise-friendly policies that create jobs, enhance economic development, and build prosperity. According to Jim Clifton, author of The Coming Jobs War,
“The reality is, when it comes to creating economic growth and good jobs, local leadership trumps national leadership. [Cities with] leaders with principles, policies, values, and beliefs that encourage business and entrepreneurship…are filled with booming start-up companies, and those cities have thriving economies that create authentic, organically grown good jobs.1”
A growing body of research, including The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy, buttresses the assertion that pragmatic leaders at the city level can take on the issues that Washington will not, or cannot, solve.2
Enterprise-friendly policies at the city level can indeed facilitate local economic growth by supporting entrepreneurs and mobilizing effective partnerships for improving the conditions for business and job growth. Working together with businesses, city leaders can bolster expansion into national markets and exports to reach global markets.
City policies and practices that will help strengthen our free enterprise system—the system that has served as the foundation of America’s prosperity and the only system capable of creating the jobs we need for the long haul—are those that do the following:
- Allow businesses to grow and thrive.
- Free businesses from excessive taxes, unnecessary regulations, and onerous local government processes.
- Focus government on the critical tasks that are the foundation of economic opportunity, such as infrastructure and protective services.
- Help educate, cultivate, and equip the next generation of young entrepreneurs and the workforce of the future.
Enterprising cities use policy inputs, well-designed community programs, and economic development best practices to create an environment where free enterprise creates jobs and prosperity. Economic prosperity creates fiscally sustainable local governments capable of supporting the infrastructure and workforce that free enterprise needs. The cities highlighted in this report—Dayton, Irving, Memphis, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Sioux Falls—each in their own unique way, are examples of how enterprise-friendly leadership, strategies, and partnerships can be put into action to achieve meaningful results.