While each city in Solano County is
independently competitive when it comes to marketing its assets for business
development, each city must also work collaboratively and with Solano Economic
Development Corporation (Solano EDC) and private companies to leverage a broad
campaign to market Solano County to a target audience.
Moving Solano Forward, Phase II the visionary
marketing campaign led by Solano EDC’s project team was unveiled last week and
outlines how the economic strength of the collective seven cites is powerful
when harnessed and targeted to maximize economic outcomes.
Why all of a sudden is there so much focus on
Solano County cities banding together to get aggressive on economic development
activities? It has always been important for a coordinated approach to market
Solano County on a regional, statewide and national basis for new business
However, the recent economic downtown brought
to light a lot of economic related red flags for all the cities and the county
that needed attention. There is intense competition between communities and states
for new economic development projects in today’s economy, and the struggle to
attract and retain business is further intensified by the use of many
variations of economic incentives to the potential businesses. Surrounding
counties and regions are getting very aggressive in looking to recruit
businesses within our county, and unless we have a strong and coordinated
business attraction campaign focused on marketing Solano County and its cities,
new business opportunities will bypass or depart from Solano County.
The US Department of Defense, Office of
Economic Adjustment provided funding for the county to do an economic
opportunity analysis to study the challenges facing Solano County. Utilizing
the services of Solano EDC and its project team, the analysis from the initial
study (Phase I) morphed into Moving Solano Forward Phase II to address the
initial issues identified, and develop tools and strategies to enhance a
At the basic economic development level,
Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield, Suisun, Vacaville and Vallejo all focus on elements
to improve the quality of life and economic well-being for the respective
communities with programs to retain jobs and support and grow the tax base.
Moving Solano Forward, Phase II provides a strategic plan to showcase the
attributes of each city and identifies facility types (i.e., office services,
light manufacturing, heavy manufacturing, distribution), and cluster targets
(i.e., advanced materials, logistics, biotech/biomedical, food processing, etc.)
and sites for suitable investment.
In Fairfield for example, Green Valley
Corporate Park, Busch Corporate Center, Solano Business Park, and the future
Canon Station industrial area all contain land that align with the objectives
of Moving Solano Forward, Phase II –namely strengthening investment
opportunities and the local economy. All the sites are well positioned to
support regionally significant job-creating investment. We have noted before in
this column that Fairfield has water capacity to support continued growth,
including investments by large water users such as food and beverage
operations. Land resources well suited for manufacturing, distribution and
laboratory operations are ready for development.
Moving Solano Forward, II is an action oriented
mission-focused forward-thinking effort with four recommended initiatives to
grow the Solano County economy and jobs and guide stakeholder activities and
·Marketing & business attraction: Each city has their own
unique business attraction messaging while leveraging a broader campaign
through consistent and frequent marketing to the target audience. Increasing
lead generation is the major goal of the business attraction initiative.
Prospecting efforts for business leads will target specific identified clusters
in predetermined geographic markets. The more leads that can be generated, the
greater the chance of landing new jobs and investment, and working in a
cooperative fashion with an organization like the Solano EDC creates a greater
marketing “reach” for the county and cities within to do just that.
·Business retention & expansion: The Solano EDC will
coordinate existing business retention and expansion efforts performed by
respective cities through the Economic Development Task Force, host program
software and the Solano Business First! Key message and program. Showing some
love to existing businesses can help keep them happy and identify key issues at
an early stage that may need a regional approach to resolve.
·Competitiveness: Solano EDC will work with each city and the
County to evaluate financing options for infrastructure, and market programs
that help make Solano unique. There are various assets that help differentiate
Solano County from other areas. For example, our natural resources and lower
costs for businesses to build, maintain and operate compared to other Bay Area
and out-of-state locations gives Solano a competitive advantage.
·Resource hub: A computer-generated one-stop clearinghouse
accessible to businesses for accessing data, research, industry reports,
economic indicators and links to local resources and assistance will be
maintained by Solano EDC. When site selectors are looking for information, it’s
helpful to have one catch-all source for Solano County.
To help foster collaboration with cities,
Solano EDC will present each city with their plan for enhanced services and
performance measures, and with that, a proposed budget that is comparable to
other economic development organizations in the United States. Team members
from each city have been meeting regularly with Solano EDC for marketing
coordination activities. Solano Moving Forward, Phase II is the chance for all
cities and the County to take necessary action to show that Solano Means
Economic Notes is an
update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the
Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at
428-7461 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org