Louisville launches effort to develop new strategic plan for economic development

August 08, 2023

Mayor Craig Greenberg today kicked off the creation of a new strategic plan for Louisville’s economic development during the first of four stakeholder meetings that will be held this year.

Standing in the renovated Angel’s Envy Club at the University of Louisville’s L&N Stadium, Mayor Greenberg thanked business and community leaders for answering his call to help identify steps the public and private sectors can jointly undertake to create broader economic opportunity and make Louisville an easier place for businesses to invest, relocate and expand. This is the first time in nearly a decade that leaders from around the region have come together to craft a new vision for the future of Louisville’s economic development.

“A lot has changed since that last planning effort, and it is time to face the facts and understand that what brought us to this point is not nearly enough to position us for success in the future. We have an opportunity to build on our city’s great strengths, acknowledge our weaknesses and create a future that will better serve the people of Louisville for generations. Louisville has an extraordinary future ahead of us if we embrace it,” said Mayor Greenberg.

Indiana-based economic development firm Ginovus and Indiana-based consulting and management firm TPMA were hired by Louisville Metro Government to conduct an economic analysis and complete a strategic plan for economic development by the end of this year. The plan will include actionable steps for city government and recommendations for how businesses, nonprofits and individuals can help.

The companies will craft the plan based on input from leaders gathered during small group discussions at the stakeholder meetings. Tuesday’s discussion focused around what Louisville does well, where improvement is needed, and where stakeholders envision the city a decade from now.

The presentation listed Louisville’s strengths, including its diverse economy, logistics infrastructure, significant presence of higher education institutions and robust health care industry. In Louisville, 10 different industry sectors make up at least 5% of the region’s total employment, offering a diversity of jobs, and the region is home to 21 higher education institutions. Meanwhile, Louisville’s challenges include less access to venture capital compared to peer cities, poverty rates above the national average, low educational attainment, and talent attraction and retention. Over a 10-year period, the population of the Louisville-Jefferson County Metropolitan Statistical Area grew just 6%, and the number of post-secondary awards and certificates increased less than 1%.

In addition to analyzing public data, Ginovus and TPMA interviewed site selectors, who serve as gatekeepers between cities and companies looking to grow. Those interviewed said Louisville struggles to stand out from other Midwestern cities and lacks a memorable brand; however, site selectors agreed that the city is well positioned to grow due to rising costs and other environmental factors in peer cities.

“We want to create a city that makes national and global news because we launch innovative businesses and nonprofits and because we’re the home of universities that produce great discoveries, visionaries and leaders. We want to create a city that learns the lessons of our past so that the growth, investment and increased prosperity we’re seeing already in some neighborhoods spreads to every neighborhood – inside the Watterson and outside the Watterson. That’s the new direction for our city,” the Mayor said.

Earlier this year, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Pat Mulloy announced that businessmen Riggs Lewis and Steve Miller were appointed Strategic Economic Development Advisors to help Louisville develop a comprehensive and robust plan to grow the city’s economy. In these volunteer roles, Lewis and Miller are working with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Mulloy, the city’s economic development team, Ginovus and TMPA.

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