Advance programs and policies that improve the local business climate and give Wichita Falls the best chance to grow jobs and investment in the coming years.
A primary focus for this strategic planning process was the community’s desire to become more prosperous. This will require increasing and improving opportunities for employment.
Most individuals and households rely upon the availability of quality jobs to increase their standards of living. On a larger scale, wealth accumulates in regions when local business establishments “export” goods and services to other markets in the United States and beyond. So while every aspect of this Strategy can help make Wichita Falls more economically competitive in the long run, a holistic approach to economic development must also consider opportunities to grow jobs and investment sooner rather than later.
For decades, many communities and their economic development organizations have exclusively associated “economic development” with “business recruitment.” While the recruitment is an important component of an economic development program, it comprises only one-third of a “three-legged stool.”
In fact, employment growth is primarily driven by the other two legs of the stool – expansions of existing businesses and entrepreneurship. Successful communities now pursue a balanced approach that incorporates business recruitment, business retention and expansion (BRE), and support for new enterprises.
This portion of the strategic plan focuses on programs and policies that Wichita Falls can pursue to grow jobs and investment in the next five years. Additional opportunities to enhance entrepreneurial activity are addressed separately with the Makerspace initiative.
CONNECTIONS TO COMMUNITY GOALS
Attract and retain residents and businesses: This Catalyst focuses specifically on attracting and retaining businesses and ensuring a competitive overall business climate.
Increase prosperity for all residents: Creating an attractive environment for jobs and investment is critical to raising standards of living for residents in Wichita Falls.
Enhance the quality of life and quality of place: Business attraction and retention has an indirect yet major influence on community vibrancy.
Promote inclusivity and equity: Many businesses now recognize diversity and inclusion as core values that impact the bottom line; this Catalyst includes a Tactical Recommendation that seeks to create a business culture of inclusion and expand opportunities for all residents.
Improve internal and external perceptions of Wichita Falls: While business location decisions are influenced by many factors, a reputation as a “good place to do business” is a valuable asset.