Creating Strong Economies

Strong economies are the product of innovative companies, effective support organizations, creative research and development partners, and a healthy talent pipeline.

We help communities understand and build on their strengths, identify and seize new opportunities, overcome weaknesses, and mitigate threats. We use data creatively, we engage the unusual suspects, and we bring our deep and diverse perspectives to bear to create actionable analysis and strategies.

Fourth Economy helps create strong economies by:

  • Measuring the community and economic impacts of programs, organizations, and development
  • Modeling the market opportunities that intersect traditional sectors and dynamic global trends
  • Creating resiliency strategies to address economic shocks and the economic implications of environmental shocks
  • Defining the current and future needs of housing and commercial development
  • Advancing the connectivity of industry ecosystems

Here are some of the ways that Fourth Economy has helped to create strong economies:

Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus

In our conversations with communities, many questions have been raised as to how to attract investors that are eager to benefit from the Opportunity Zone (OZ) new tax incentive. Our approach is equally based in economic data and community engagement, and we pride ourselves on creating implementable and investable plans. Creating an OZ Investment Prospectus is as much about the process of a community coming together to form a vision as it is about the output of a list of strategically selected projects that can be shared with potential investors.


Creating Resilient Economies

Fourth Economy is the only domestic economic development strategy firm that is a Platform Partner with The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. As a Platform Partner, we work with cities to help them develop and implement their resilience strategies. For example, in Pittsburgh, we are facilitating a process to create an Investment Prospectus to support fundraising for and implementation of their resilience strategy. In St. Louis, we are helping to develop strategies to address economic inequality.

Click below to learn more about how we can help you create a resilient economy.


Creating a City Growth Strategy

The City of Lebanon, Pennsylvania did not have an economic development strategy helping to guide investment and the actions of their various community and economic development organizations. They partnered with Fourth Economy to develop an economic development action agenda, downtown improvement plan, media event and public launch. The plan, Grow Lebanon 2020, was the culmination of  extensive stakeholder engagement and economic structure analysis. Eight key recommendations and more than thirty detailed action steps were adopted to guide programmatic and real estate asset development for the next five years. Performance metrics were development that included both measures unique to Lebanon’s conditions and context as well indicators that align with higher performing regional cities. The plan garnered strong support from community and economic development organizations, many of which now sit on an  implementation committee. The creation of a business improvement district was one of the first recommendations to be implemented.


Fostering Regional Collaboration

Though only an hour apart, the cities of Fargo and Grand Forks did not have a history of economic development collaboration. As industry and education leaders began to recognize the economic imperative for collaboration, they asked Fourth Economy to help them identify shared priorities and develop an action agenda. Hundreds of interviews and focus groups with regional stakeholders, along with hours of research culminated in the plan that aimed to improve the economy up and down the Red River Valley region. The strategic plan identifies six key areas for action and continues to inform their shared advocacy agenda around:

  • Workforce attraction, development and retention
  • Water security and management for the Valley
  • University research capacity and relevancy
  • Entrepreneurial activity and output
  • Infrastructure development and capital improvements
  • Perceptions of the Valley

As a result of that process, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation recognized several economic development opportunities that they needed to address, such as innovations in precision agriculture and unmanned systems. They partnered with Fourth Economy to update their economic development strategy to align with the regional strategy and capture opportunities unique to Fargo-Moorhead.


Capturing the Impact of Higher Education

Fourth Economy conducted an analysis of the economic impact on the City of Pittsburgh of the 10 colleges and universities that comprise the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE). We went beyond the traditional economic impact modeling to uncover benefits that ranged from volunteering to startup activity. Our work enabled PCHE members to highlight an overall economic impact of $8.99 billion and supported more than 70,000 jobs in the City of Pittsburgh in FY 2012-13 alone. This economic impact represents approximately 32 percent of the Gross Domestic Product for the City of Pittsburgh.