Smart Firms in Small Towns

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This book provides overview of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) within the context of “third-wave” state economic development policy; by which policy is marked by emphasis on strategies such as public-private partnerships, establishing regional networks, developing industrial clusters, and increasing human capital.

It puts forth approaches to developing effective national and regional industrial competitiveness strategies. Research finds characteristics of best practices are to: (1) build constituency and leadership; (2) map local economies, including linkages among firms, and target sectors; (3) identify and coordinate resources and services; (4) involve SMEs; (5) build scale; and (6) establish procedures for accountability. Conclusion finds that in order to achieve scale, modernization must be debated and discussed as an economic development policy, with accountability procedures in mind.

Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group
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