In 2013, SSTI in partnership with Louisville Metro Government, Colorado Governor's Office of Economic Development, Renewable Manufacturing Gateway, the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems, NorTech and MAGNET, Collaborative Economics and the Center for Urban Innovation at Georgia Tech committed to launch the Manufacturing Ecosystem Exchange (ME2) to connect regional and state actors to a network of economic development models focused on strengthening and cultivating high performing advanced manufacturing clusters in vibrant ecosystems in order to facilitate engagement and consultation. Several models already in place around the country will come together to form the pilot for the ME2.
This new exchange will showcase best practices on how regions have developed and implemented strategies to support the growth of advanced manufacturing economic cluster activity. The ME2 will also encourage regions and states to develop their own models for promoting advanced manufacturing growth. These strategies are inclusive to an ecosystem encompassing an entire economic environment of a region from workforce training and development, innovation generation and support for start-up enterprises, along with product development support for small and medium sized enterprises. Additionally, the ME2 will strengthen the existing work of regional actors and provide access to thought leadership and resources, avoiding siloes or fragmented approaches to growth. ME2 will do this through a variety of mechanisms: establishing regular means for dialogue between regions including webinars, conference calls, and in-person meetings as needed; issue briefs and profiles of regions; and, a website to serve as the home for ME2.
The ME2 will put forth economic development models for the purpose of manufacturing growth that will inform how to:
1) Identify key components of a regional industrial commons
2) Conduct inventories in the region for discovery and catalogue of key components of an industrial commons
3) Connect regional ecosystems to national exchange network via the ME2
4) Connect small and medium sized enterprises to regional ecosystems and opportunities for growth (through success track - innovation, exports, workforce development, spatial efficiency)
5) Capture best practices for replication and interested regions (growth coach model)
Economic development models are boards, networks or commissions that often comprise a private sector advisory group to continue to test and develop strategies. These models vary in structure but they will always include an economic development plan that is measurable and implementable.
Present - January 2014
-Convene pilot regions on a regular basis to develop and implement stages of the work plan.
-Collect and develop partnership models and develop template for information gathering. Identify and analyze areas of overlap.
-Identify and invite other regions and states to participate in Exchange.
-Begin to inform potential funders and thought leaders about the Manufacturing Ecosystem Exchange
Pilot regions and state complete inventories of key components of industrial commons
March - April 2014
- Compile an overview of partner models that covers regional efforts to spur manufacturing activity and growth and complete an identification of mechanisms that have supported states and regions
- Update potential funders with overview of work to date and progress from compilation of partner models
June - July 2014
-With available foundational funding launch ME2 website that show cases partners, resources and thought leaders
July - October 2014
-Recruit and add additional regions to exchange through website and regular communication
-Convene state and regional partners of the exchange
October - December 2014
-Continue to publicize existence of national exchange to other regions and states and provide access to technical assistance tools as needed
-Add additional regions and states to increase breadth of the exchange
-Continue to develop website and opportunities to enhance exchange
Through August 2015
-Continue to add new regions and states and provide technical resources.
Through August 2015
-Monthly calls to capture best practices that can be shared with other regions and states to ensure regions and states are communicating and sharing with each other
Planning and preparing for success in the 21st century economy remains critical for states and regions around the country, particularly within growing and diverse sectors of our economy. Advanced manufacturing is essential to American innovation and the export economy, and supports high-wage/high-skill jobs. While the manufacturing sector in the United States has changed over the last 50 years, U.S manufacturing is responsible for 70 percent of all research and development and contributed $1.87 trillion to the economy in 2012.
States and regions must intentionally design strategies to support manufacturing growth to develop healthy small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Through these efforts policy makers will coordinate workforce development, innovation and export strategies for the overall growth of the manufacturing sector. States and regional economies are competing with economies all over the world. Just as California's economy is the 12th largest in the world, places like Shanghai and Mumbai are growing exponentially. A regional exchange network provides a platform for regions to collaborate and develop models for the purposes of sector specific growth. Advanced manufacturing commands this attention given the industry's current challenges and opportunities for growth.
SSTI is a national nonprofit organization that leads, supports and strengthens efforts to improve state and regional economies through science, technology and innovation. As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI since its inception in 1996 offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies. With more than 170 member organizations, SSTI has developed a nationwide network of practitioners and policymakers dedicated to improving the economy through science, technology and innovation. SSTI accomplishes its mission, in part, by helping make connections between organizations interested in similar issues so they can learn from each other's experiences.
The Manufacturing Ecosystem Exchange is seeking a variety of resources, including financial, in-kind IT and web development, regions and states interested in participating, and media support. This ambitious Commitment to Action will create a national ecosystem exchange where policymakers are able to inventory key components of an industrial commons and small and medium-sized enterprises know how to access those resources. Individual regions and states will prepare their own inventories, but in a common format that will permit a national exchange to allow small and medium-sized enterprises to find resources available to them no matter where they are located.
Financial resources are needed to support the work of regions in preparing their inventories and to develop the national exchange. In-kind IT and web development resources would be critical to the development of a common format. Media support will be important in getting the word out about the existence of the exchange.
The Manufacturing Ecosystem Exchange is offering best practice information to regions and states that are interested in developing inventories for discovery and catalogue of key components of an industrial commons in regions and connecting regional ecosystems to a national exchange network.