By Dennis Brobston
The 2018 economic outlook for Saratoga County and the greater region remains strong. It also marks Saratoga Economic Development Corp.’s 40th anniversary of boosting Saratoga County’s readiness for success.
Our community-led member network positions us close to market realities to set priorities. To build on our legacy of success and stay prepared for future opportunities, the need can be summed up in one word; capacity.
Talent, both a workforce incorporating needed technical skills, and an inspired culture of entrepreneurs, will boost Saratoga’s competitive standing. Building and infrastructure flexible enough to support earlier stage small businesses, as well as capital-intensive needs for mature companies, are critical assets. This combination of innovators supported by a prepared, modern workforce and appealing locations for them to be productive, enhances Saratoga’s competitive capacity.
Promoting Saratoga County, retaining, and growing jobs and wages are SEDC’s mission and 2017 was a productive year. Publicly reporting progress against economic development goals helps keep SEDC accountable for delivering tangible results. From 2014 through 2017, SEDC efforts have stimulated over $2.54 billion of new investment generating over 1,800 new and retained jobs and $48.7 million in added employee payroll. 2017 alone produced $30.3 million of new investment leading to 430 jobs. These jobs will add over $8.6 million of annual household income in area communities.
We realized job retention goals by supporting local small and mid-sized business expansions. SEDC helped homegrown manufacturer Greenfield Manufacturing, Inc. expand in Saratoga Springs even while being recruited nationally. SEDC supported one of the newest additions to the Saratoga business community, Arnoff Logistics, expand their Malta facility creating 20 new jobs.
We helped retain corporate headquarters for software developer, Kitware, in Saratoga County even with offices and clients internationally. G & G Specialties Environments, a producer of waterproof LED lighting systems, expanded into Halfmoon with SEDC’s help, adding good electronics jobs.
SEDC also worked with MJ Properties getting approvals from the Clifton Park IDA for two much-needed “spec” buildings in Fairchild Square. Providing flexible light industrial space for expanding new companies achieves a critical goal of realizing job-ready capacity for businesses to get a foothold in Saratoga County and grow here.
Our investor members and the incentives granted by longtime community partners at the Saratoga County IDA, National Grid and NYSEG remain key ingredients to future success. SEDC’s Advance Saratoga goals to generate billions of dollars of investment and over 10,000 new and retained jobs through 2020 relies on our members and community partners. Our ambitious objectives mean we must stay apace of target business sector needs impacting investment and expansion decisions, such as:
• Understanding the expanding demand for electricity and thermal energy needs of area businesses to help them with competitive energy and efficiency options.
• Identifying attractive sites viable to develop distribution and advanced manufacturing.
• Sustaining confidence with premier site selectors to attract advanced manufacturers along with supply chain investment and corporate headquarters.
• Helping educators better align with regional businesses to improve workforce opportunities for good-paying jobs.
• Diversifying living options for workforce households to continue to thrive in Saratoga County.
• Inspiring and supporting more entrepreneur innovators.
To attain dynamic job growth, attract capital and executive leadership, we must pair promising entrepreneurs with qualified regional professional service partners, experienced mentor teams, capital partners and collaborative spaces that will retain and attract their talent.
In 2017, we launched Spark Saratoga, Saratoga County’s first entrepreneur business incubator to inspire, mentor and accelerate emerging business development. By leveraging our investor members and the region’s world-class expertise, we will facilitate a deep network to bolster talented entrepreneurs. Qualified innovators are eligible to receive supportive services from Clarkson University’s prestigious Shipley Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
We also actively engage with the impressive network of academic institutions like Skidmore locally and many more collaborating across our region. Since Spark Saratoga’s April launch, over 30 companies have been supported. We expect robust growth in 2018 from admitted businesses and new entrepreneurs.
Keeping with boosting Saratoga’s entrepreneurial capacity, our newest project is working with Precision Valve & Automation (PVA) of Latham and its founder, Tony Hynes. We are helping them win Mechanicville-Stillwater IDA incentives to re-purpose the recently closed DiSiena Furniture headquarters and warehouse in Mechanicville, New York. PVA’s investment will re-purpose the building as an entrepreneur space providing prototyping machinery, software, professional technical support and added benefits like healthcare for accepted early stage companies. Site acquisition is expected shortly, and three early stage businesses will locate at the facility in Mechanicville in mid-2018 immediately providing 12 jobs.
While services and mentorship from SEDC members will boost our region’s appeal to innovators and could deliver enticing enterprises for capital investors, this mindset will also enhance other Advance Saratoga initiatives. Entrepreneurs’ vision to imagine and zeal to pursue new and disruptive business adds leadership skills for a dynamic workforce. This empowers innovators to stay or relocate here, developing a talent pool for new and existing companies. Talent attracts talent.
SEDC’s member investments PLUS meaningful engagement empower us to move at the speed of business. It is our formula to promote our region, retain businesses and jobs, and grow new opportunities year after year helping sustain Saratoga’s success. SEDC is energized to engage with our investors, community partners and leaders, and is always open to new input to boost Saratoga’s world-class standing in 2018 and beyond.
Tedisco: State Needs To Create A Better Environment For Growing Small Businesses
Economic Outlook 2018: Todd Shimkus
Economic Outlook 2018: Pete Bardunias
Economic Outlook 2018: Mark Shaw
Economic Outlook 2018: Marty Vanags, CEcD
Economic Outlook 2018: Teddy Foster
Economic Outlook 2018: Janet Basheer
Economic Outlook 2018: Todd Garafano