Cities & Towns Look Inward to Encourage Local Economic Growth

September 2014
As cities and towns continue to pursue new strategies for rebounding from the economic recession and slow recovery they’ve begun to look inward and have found that they have resources that can generate economic prosperity in their communities. Cities and towns have the ability to harness the spending power they have as a local government entity and can ensure that when possible they contract with local, small and diverse businesses for goods and services. The strategy is essentially “Buy Local,” but on a larger scale.

An example of a municipality that has pursued this strategy is the City of New Haven. Last year the City of New Haven’s Office of Economic Development completed the first phase of its “Buy Local Initiative.” The initiative is aimed at fostering local economic and job growth and strengthening the City’s small and minority-owned businesses.

New Haven’s efforts to implement a “Buy Local” strategy were a two-fold: evaluate the City’s spending on goods and services provided by local, small and minority-owned businesses; and evaluate opportunities for the City to increase spending with these businesses. To independently evaluate its spending and the potential opportunities the City partnered with Next Street Financial, an economic development consultancy with offices in New York and Boston.

An analysis of New Haven’s existing procurement spending with local, small and minority-owned businesses showed that New Haven compares favorably to municipalities around the country. However, a number of options were also identified that would enable the City to increase its commitment to local, small and minority-owned businesses. To learn more view the Phase 1: Executive Summary of the City of New Haven’s “Buy Local Initiative.”

Luigi Fulinello, Economic Development Director, New Milford

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