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Monday, November 19th, 2007

The Real Basis of a Local Economy

The big economic development news in Indianapolis the last couple of weeks was the announcement that Medco would build a mail order pharmacy center there employing 1,300. That was big news in both the mainstream media and the blog world, and articles posted about it drew significant comments.

But I was more attracted to a Sunday Indy Star profile of a much smaller local company called AIT Laboratories [dead link]. This is a lab outfit offering toxicology and other services that employs 160. The online version of this article only attracted four comments.

The profile in itself was interesting, but I also was particularly taken by this passage:

Central Indiana is becoming a hub of specialized laboratory and service companies. Dozens of outfits — from clinical-trial operations to toxicology labs to specialized biological-storage companies — employ more than 6,000 people in Indiana, according to BioCrossroads, a life-sciences initiative that invests in emerging Indiana companies.

This is where the real economic base and future of a city is built. It is in a thriving SME sector of companies like AIT. These companies don’t usually make the headlines. But they are the fundamental base of any economic ecosystem. If Indianapolis is to realize its dream of being a life sciences hub, it won’t be because of a handful of Medcos. It will be because of dozens of AIT’s. Some will succeed, others fail, but this is where a dynamic local economy is built. Cities shouldn’t lose sight of this in the competition for major plants, etc.

3 Comments
Topics: Economic Development
Cities: Indianapolis

3 Responses to “The Real Basis of a Local Economy”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree. Thanks for the comments.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, agreed. Now, what can we do to get these companies to locate within the existing city infrastructure instead of paving cornfields in the suburbs? There seems to be a tremendous amount of vacant industrial space within the City, but the trend is to build facilities in the surrounding counties. Any thoughts out there?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Somehow state and local governments seem to overlook the small business. They work hard and fashion strategies to court the large companies when their energies could be better spent improving the overall business environment thereby aiding the growth of business in general.

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