Is It Smart to Collaborate With the Competition? | 2023 SEDC Annual Conference

July 8, 2023

Is It Smart to Collaborate With the Competition?Tuesday, August 15 | 1:45 pm

2023 Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) Annual Conference
August 13-15, 2023 | Williamsburg, VA | Learn more/register

Moderated By: Dan Gundersen, FM, HLM, Senior Vice President at Camoin Associates


Join us for a discussion about the enduring century-old tradition of pitting states, regions, and communities in direct competition with each other for the same business investments and resources. Is this long-standing approach to economic development still valid, being disrupted, or outdated? Our panel of leading regional development executives and industry leaders will give us their perspective on these questions and probe the pros and cons of establishing cross-border approaches among states, regions, and communities.

This session will explore how economic development finds itself between opposite but interconnected forces: An ever-expanding complex and collaborative world and a movement towards more politically charged, polarized interactions between states and regions. Some of the questions we’ll try to answer include:

  • Are states and communities hard-wired by laws and politics to compete rather than work together? Is there a way to strike a balance between cooperation and individual interests for the collective benefit?
  • Could states and regions that share borders work more closely to learn from each other’s successes and failures and improve economic strategies and outcomes?
  • Is it possible to share resources, knowledge, and expertise to address similar economic development challenges such as limited resources, attracting skilled labor, or developing new industries to better compete globally?
  • If states or communities were to pool their resources and expertise to create regional transportation networks, infrastructure improvements, or joint marketing initiatives, would they then attract larger investments?
  • Is it possible to leverage collective strengths to tackle larger challenges more efficiently and effectively? By working together could we more judiciously maximize economic benefits, and avoid bidding wars, escalating incentives, and waste? Can we afford not to in a time when some economic development issues seem to be larger and more complex than individual states can handle on their own, e.g., water and energy infrastructure, industry standards, integrated supply chains, and globally linked research and development?
  • What have we learned from past or current multi-state and regional efforts? Is this becoming more of a trend and expectation of federal programs?
  • What does the current environment that appears to favor greater state autonomy portend for addressing super-regional challenges?