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Geelong: The keys to facilitating an economy in transition

The City of Greater Geelong’s economy is shifting from a traditional manufacturing and industrial base to a strong focus on knowledge, innovation and research-based industries. The City hosts a number of key offices in the disability and injury services industry, including the Transport Accident Commission and the National Disability Insurance Agency head office, and the impending establishment of headquarters for WorkSafe in Central Geelong.

AEC was engaged by the Council to develop a Market Analysis and Investment Attraction strategy that focused on the disability and injury services industry. This initiative was quite unique in that it was focused entirely on the growth of one particular industry and it’s associated supply chain. Council instigated the development of the Market Analysis and Investment Attraction Study to determine whether there are flow on opportunities for the growth of this sector and to identify if and how it could contribute to the ongoing diversification of the local economy.

In developing this strategy AEC undertook the following steps:

  1. The Market Analysis defined the industry, the major stakeholders, the various sectors of the supply chain and the economic value of the industry to the City of Greater Geelong. The purpose of this stage was about providing an evidence base that would either support or refute the belief Council had about the opportunities associated with this industry.

  2. The Opportunities Assessment built an understanding of the opportunities, gaps, strengths and challenges the City would need to address and focus on in order to be successful in achieving investment attraction outcomes in identified target markets.

  3. The final piece of the process is about building an Investment Attraction Framework that provides clear direction and realistic actions on how to take the project forward and facilitate tangible economic outcomes for the City.

Some of the key learnings obtained in the development of this strategy include:

  • As an Economic Development professional when you have a belief that investment attraction opportunities exist within a particular industry it is important to establish an evidence base that defines the current presence and contribution that industry makes to your local economy. After this identify how your economic capabilities and strengths compliment the ongoing attraction of businesses. Where Keys to facilitating an economy in transition gaps and challenges exist, identify and implement solutions to address these.

  • Establishing the evidence base, identifying the extent of the opportunities and preparing the framework provides the platform and direction for success. However, like with all investment attraction initiatives, the successes come from building and maintaining targeted relationships. The value of a strategy such as this one is that it will provide clarity around which sectors, stakeholder groups and regions to focus your energy on.

  • The City of Greater Geelong has worked diligently to build a local network of key stakeholders across this industry. It is important that all of these stakeholders continue to be engaged in the implementation of the strategy so that where possible they can help with generating and pursuing leads and where relevant they can benefit from opportunities as well.

  • The City of Greater Geelong economy is going through a transformation. It would not have been as effective to launch directly into investment attraction activities without the appropriate direction. The development of this strategy is allowing the City in partnership with other key stakeholders to go forward based on informed decision making and actions that will help to make sure the City is well positioned to take advantage of their capabilities and the associated opportunities.

If you are interested in identifying and pursuing investment attraction and economic development opportunities for your city or region, please contact AEC's skilled team.

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