July 2, 2012

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Article

GOED's Toolbox

The One-Stop Shop for Business Support

Gaylen Webb

July 2, 2012

The woodworker’s plane helps shape and smooth raw lumber into precise form and functional purpose. It is the culmination of a journey of one industry and the beginning of something new. For virtually every trade, there is an associated toolbox. From contracting to construction and poetry to pastels, every craftsperson relies upon the tools of their trade to carry out the desires of his or her talent and determination.

Similarly, the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) has a well-stocked toolbox that is accessible to all Utah business owners and entrepreneurs. The GOED toolbox—or rather, deluxe mobile workshop—contains numerous indispensable tools that are transformative to the raw materials of business. Whether helping to keep existing business intact or facilitating the expansion of new business and operations, the GOED toolbox is the ideal resource both for businesses native to the state and for those considering Utah for the first time.

Throw open the powder coated steel shell and find lined up an array of job-specific Business Resource Centers (BRCs) and Business Outreach hardware by the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah). Open the modular drawers to reveal the Procurement Technical Assistant Center (PTAC) and the Post-Performance Incentives Program, GOED’s digital level and electronic stud finder. There’s the ratchet set in the Utah Health Exchange, a market-driven healthcare reform system specifically calibrated to Utahns’ exacting standards. There are also professional-grade power tools like GOED’s cluster-industry development and Team Global Utah, two devices that build reinforced foundations for the state’s strongest industries both within Utah, and in the global marketplace.

Because of the collaborative prowess of GOED’s programs and partners, the tools in GOED’s collection have a constructive power far beyond their intended use. And in the hands of Utah’s highly skilled and innovate workforce, well, the only limit is their imagination.

Toolset: Strategic Industry Development
In terms of leverage, the most powerful tool in GOED’s arsenal is likely its cluster industry development program. With a blueprint for building up entire industries, the State is able to foster the success of untold numbers of businesses—and the economy as a whole.

Utah is rich with geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers and associated institutions within specific industries. The clusters program focuses on seven industries: Aerospace & Aviation, Energy & Natural Resources, Life Sciences, Software Development & Information Technology, Defense & Homeland Security, Financial Services and Outdoor Products & Recreation.

"Over 160,000 Utahns work in companies aligned with our clusters initiative, and these sectors are some of the hottest, fastest-growing industry sectors across the country. For example, Utah's life sciences industry has added employees each and every month for the past 10 years,” says Managing Director Gary Harter.

The cluster program’s formula for success involves a vibrant R&D environment, robust commercialization activities, access to capital, interconnections within industries, supportive government and access to a skilled labor force. GOED’s cluster strategy draws on partnerships with industry associations, the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR), Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), academia, local chambers of commerce, local elected officials, federal agencies, military installations, local economic development organizations and many others.

Toolset: Growth Assistance
The clusters program takes a macro approach to building the economy, but GOED also has a handy set of tools that aid companies on a micro level. GOED’s assistance toolset is precision crafted to help local companies grow.

For example, statewide Business Resource Centers bring together essential business resources under one roof. The BRC array of tools include assistance with business plan development, small business loan applications, license and registration of a business, human resources, exporting, lean manufacturing or connecting with higher education for R&D support.

The BRCs rely on a network of partners to expand their service offerings. "Many of the centers have co-located with SBA Small Business Development Centers, SCORE chapters, U.S. Export Assistance Centers and Manufacturing Extension Partnerships. They truly are one-stop-shops that provide significant assistance to new and expanding businesses," says Business Development Director Riley Cutler.

GOED’s Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) are also co-located with many of the BRCs. PTACs help companies succeed in the government contracting game. Every year the federal government purchases products and services worth billions of dollars, from weapons systems and information technology to uniforms and custodial work. State and local governments also spend millions of dollars each year purchasing goods and services. PTAC's mission is to be the one-stop shop for businesses interested in winning government contract work.

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