BBA Community Review/Asset Mapping: Leveraging Resources and Opportunities
The purpose of BBA Community Review/Asset Mapping is twofold.
The first – the Community Review -- is designed to give economic developers a better understanding of their community's capabilities through an unvarnished assessment of its strengths and weaknesses.
The second – the Asset Mapping – is designed to inform business constituents about who does what within a community relating to economic development and to literally map those assets into a tailored, digital resource guide.
The Community Review
All communities have strengths and the weaknesses. Determining them is a necessary first step in what should be a never-ending journey to improve the business environment of a place.
We do this through on-the-ground observations and off-the-record interviews with community stakeholders. No one will be quoted or identified in our subsequent report.
We answer the question, “Where are we now?” by identifying a community's competitive advantages that can be leveraged to build the capacity for growth juxtaposed against factors that can keep it from realizing its potential.
Determining community strengths includes cultural, economic, technological, intellectual (talent) and physical assets, all of which are critical in developing a vision for growth and developing a process of continuous improvement.
Focusing only on community strengths, however, does a disservice, as it may allow local policymakers to avoid some uncomfortable truths that need to be addressed to establish a successful economic development program.
In the end, we are looking for building blocks within the community that can be leveraged to create a favorable environment for capital investment and job creation. If those elements are not present or can be improved, we will so advise, and can work with the community over the long term to make substantive change.
The Asset Mapping
In every community, there are public and private organizations that provide services which can aid or be an asset to economic development.
For example, it could be a community college that offers vocational education/training or a bank that does SBA lending.
Knowing who does what and “mapping” out those resources or assets within a community is a valuable tool for investment attraction, business retention and expansion, and entrepreneurial development.
Our on-site, Community Review interviews will reveal many of those resources, which will be followed by the creation of a digital resource guide that can show all the moving parts in a community or region pertaining to economic development.
We work with our strategic alliance partner ExecutivePulse to formulate these digital guides, which can be used in a variety of ways.
Resources mapped can include tourism, arts and culture, lending, mentoring, workforce training, construction, insurance, utilities, all of which can include points of contact and a description of what these public and private organizations do.
The economic development organization (EDO) decides on what assets are to be included and we do the rest. And because this is a software solution, the EDO can edit and change the information and generate board-ready reports in Pdf, Word, Excel or PowerPoint formats.
In short, the digital mapping of resources within a community can serve as a powerful marketing tool for existing industry support, business attraction, and/or entrepreneurial development.
“Entergy Mississippi recently partnered with Will Coppage, Executive Director of the Washington County MS Economic Alliance to have Dean perform a SWOT analysis for their community. Dean's background as an investigative reporter and newspaper editor in his early career provides him with unique skills that enable him to take hours of interview data from disparate sources and weave it into a coherent narrative that gets to the heart of a community's strengths and weaknesses.
"Dean then delivered a very detailed, well thought out report that made recommendations for how the community could move forward with some easy wins as well as to address critical structural issues that were much longer term in nature. He is also always eager to continue conversations after a project is completed. I highly recommend Dean to any community seeking a plan for improving the economic vitality of their area.” -- Ed Gardner, Jr., CEcD, EDFP, Director of Business and Economic Development, Entergy Mississippi.