Gov. John Carney recently announced a plan to create a public-private partnership and strategically realign Delaware's economic development efforts, with a focus on promoting innovation, supporting Delaware's entrepreneurs and leveraging private sector resources to create jobs and grow Delaware's economy.
Carney — who signed an executive order on his first full day in office to explore a new economic development strategy — will work with members of the general assembly to approve the concept and funding for the public-private entity and a new division at the Department of State to oversee responsibilities for small business development and tourism.
The plan will reorganize Delaware’s economic development efforts by early 2018.
“We can and should do more to promote innovation, support our entrepreneurs, build and retain a talented workforce in Delaware and strategically partner with the private sector to grow the state's economy,” Carney said. “This plan will position Delaware to create good-paying jobs, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem and keep our state a competitive place to do business.”
Carney's plan calls for the creation of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership — a jointly funded public-private entity that will lead statewide business marketing efforts to recruit and retain businesses, including early-stage technology-based ventures and large employers. The partnership also would provide support for startup businesses with a focus on high-growth industries and will work closely with employers and education institutions to build and retain a talented workforce in Delaware.
Carney's plan calls for $2 million in annual state funding for the partnership and $1 million in annual funding from private business. Contributions from the state would remain contingent on an ongoing, annual financial commitment from the private sector.
The Delaware Prosperity Partnership would be led by a CEO and governed by a 15-member board with members from the public and private sectors.
Carney's plan also would eliminate the Delaware Economic Development Office and shift responsibilities for small business development and tourism to a new division at the Department of State.
"This is about positioning Delaware to be competitive for good jobs moving forward," said Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. "By strategically partnering with the private sector, we can leverage business resources to strengthen the state's economic development efforts, while continuing to support small business owners and promote our state's $3 billion tourism industry."
The new division at the Department of State will maintain a strong focus on supporting small business — especially women, minority and veteran-owned businesses. The division will help business owners identify available resources and navigate local, state and federal rules and regulations.
Division leaders also will administer Delaware’s publicly-funded economic development incentive programs, such as the Strategic Fund, the Main Streets program and the Blue Collar Workforce Training grant program.
Carney's plan builds on recommendations from the Economic Development Working Group, a committee created by his first executive order to study a new economic development strategy. Exploring a new model for economic development that includes a public-private partnership, and an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, also was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware.