Prequalified for economic development

Have you ever been ‘prequalified’ for a loan? This issue of prequalification is starting to be all the rage in economic development. For several years now, U.S. states have been developing ‘megasites’ in advance of any specific project (I recently saw this in Ireland too). This involves getting the zoning in place, ownership, basic site services, architectural renderings, etc. In some cases, it even involves pre developing the kind of incentives packages that could be made available for certain uses. In addition, these ‘megasites’ are approved by the various state governments and then marketed to potential large users.

Another trend is the prequalification of whole communities as site selection ready. Arkansas is doing this as are a number of other states:

Mike Maulden, director of external affairs at Entergy Arkansas, [recently] awarded “Select Site” certification to 13 Arkansas communities. The new program created by Teamwork Arkansas recognizes Arkansas communities that have met a stringent 50-point criteria for site selection standards.

I believe that this model should be deployed in Atlantic Canada. It would help local communities understand what they need to do to be ‘investment ready’. In other words, to have a fighting chance to attract new business.

It wouldn’t be that hard to do. Just get a copy of Arkansas’ or Virginia or Ireland’s approach and then work with local communities to get them on side.

Just do it, somebody.