By R.J. DeLuke
The Saratoga Economic Development Corp. (SEDC) has launched Advance Saratoga, a five-year action plan that continues to accelerate economic growth in our county.
Advance Saratoga, SEDC said in a statement, “is our private-sector-driven plan for continuing to accelerate economic growth in Saratoga County.” It is a five-year plan with a budget of $3.5 million for which the agency is raising funds to support the effort.
A kickoff reception was held April 6 at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs.
“In putting together the Advance Saratoga initiative, we first looked back at the economic development success stories that helped make Saratoga County the hub of activity it is today,” said SEDC President Dennis Brobston. “You tally up the numbers and see that SEDC has played a role in the creation of more than 17,500 jobs. Projects we’ve been involved in generate over $34 million in tax revenues every year. And the cumulative investment of these projects total more than $13 billion.
“That’s the environment Advance Saratoga comes out of. But this is about more than our rich past. It’s about the future of Saratoga County. This is the private-sector plan that takes our economic development success and elevates it to the next level.”
SEDC projects it could generate 9,460 new direct and indirect jobs, $352 million in new payroll and more than $15 billion in capital investment.
“Through our Advance Saratoga initiative, we are asking private-sector SEDC members to commit to continuing their investment, taking our economic development efforts to the next level,” the agency said.
“Since our founding in 1978, SEDC has positioned Saratoga County as an ideal place to grow a business, invest in the future and create jobs. In that time, SEDC has assisted with more than 200 successful business attraction, retention and expansion projects, accounting for more than 17,000 new jobs, millions of dollars in annual tax revenue and $12 billion in business investments.”
SEDC said its plan is targeted to five industry sectors “that have proven track records of success in our region and/or complement existing businesses. These success stories — combined with SEDC’s worldwide relationships, bold new marketing strategies and tactics, and the financial and intellectual capital of our private-sector partners — will ensure that Saratoga County remains a premier destination to invest and grow a business for years to come.”
The agency said the aim of Advance Saratoga is to aggressively sell Saratoga County’s world-class assets with a new, highly targeted marketing campaign; accelerate highly strategic and targeted job creation and retention program to generate the highest possible return on investment; and build and strengthen Saratoga County’s capacity to expand economic opportunity.
Targeted industries are semiconductor manufacturing and supply chain, light manufacturing, corporate headquarters and warehousing/distribution.
SEDC said those sectors “will be made vividly aware of our many advantages: a highly educated and skilled workforce, build-ready real estate, in-place infrastructure and competitive incentives.”
To implement the initiative SEDC said it plans to launch new, targeted marketing campaigns, including cooperative efforts with strategic partners like National Grid, NYSEG and GlobalFoundries.
It will also develop more robust digital marketing tools, including an enhanced economic development website and an ambitious social media presence.
SEDC will also create new sales and marketing collaterals, including packages and sales presentations tailored to industry targets, officials said.
"Advance Saratoga is about intensifying business recruitment, expansion, retention, startup and international trade initiatives. This focused and targeted business development plan is designed to generate the highest possible return on investment," said the agency.
Its economic development strategy will target specific industries that align with local competitive advantages, including semiconductor manufacturing and supply chain, light manufacturing, corporate headquarters and warehouse/distribution. These industries and their niche sub-sectors offer high wages, strong growth forecasts and clustering effects, SEDC said, and "success in these sectors will aid in retention of existing businesses, which may otherwise look to move or expand elsewhere."
The Advance Saratoga initiative includes, according to the agency:
• A survey of businesses to identify and address their needs; communication of the business sector's real estate needs to developers, brokers and property owners, including enhancing a site/building database and site readiness activities.
• Outreach to site consultants and targeted industry executives, assisting with proposals, and managing prospects.
• Systematic assistance to local businesses with international trade opportunities.
• Connecting with global target audiences.
• Recruitment trips to target markets and industries.
• International trade and investment trips.
• The creation of translated, international website and marketing materials.
• Inbound recruitment and attraction efforts, and the welcoming of site consultants and industry executives.
• Successful recruitment of catalyst projects in targeted industry sectors.
A third part of the strategy is to build Saratoga County's capacity to expand economic opportunity, SEDC said.
"For SEDC's marketing and retention efforts to succeed, we need partners with shovel-ready land with appropriate infrastructure to accommodate businesses considering Saratoga County as a location for investment," said SEDC.
Capacity building efforts will include:
• Identifying opportunities for new and/or expanded industrial and commercial site and park development.
• Working with private and public sectors to make that development shovel-ready.
• Helping local communities and private-sector developers secure financing for infrastructure expansions that will result in new investment and job creation.
• Conducting regular meetings with Saratoga County partners, including county and municipal officials and real estate stakeholders to coordinate marketing efforts.
The budget is broken down with $2 million allocated for aggressive marketing efforts; $625,000 to help employers invest more in Saratoga County; and $875,000 to build the county's capacity to expand economic opportunity.
In the fundraising effort, SEDC is asking its private-sector members to continue their commitment to SEDC and help "take our economic development efforts in Saratoga County to the next level.
For membership and investor information, or to learn more about how you can help, contact SEDC Vice President Tori Riley at 587-5855 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.