B380 Excellence Awards: Regional approach key to economic development

B380 Excellence Awards dinner recognizes top businesses

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Mike Brown says taking a regional approach to economic development has paid dividends for the Minneapolis-St. Paul business community.

Brown, vice president off marketing and communications for Greater MSP (the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership), will discuss his organization’s strategy as keynote speaker for the Business 380 Excellence Awards banquet Thursday evening at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center.

The Greater MSP serves a 13-county area with a $200 billion gross municipal product. What has been called the “Minneapolis Miracle,” with the world’s 44th largest economy, is on track to add 100,000 jobs this year.

“The regional approach has made a big difference for us,” Brown said Friday in a phone interview. “A lot of places in the country don’t know much about Minneapolis-St. Paul, except that it’s really cold. We realized that we really had to tell a story about the whole region, rather than how different Egan is from the City of St. Paul.”

Brown said Greater MSP has tried to minimize competition and maximize cooperation within the region.

“We’ve found that people are driving up to 25 or 30 miles to get to their job,” he said. They don’t really care where their job is located.”

Brown said a strong foundation has been key to Greater MSP’s success over the years.

“When we were organized, we really worked hard to make sure we had the right people at the table,” Brown said. “Our partnership was built by leaders in the private, public, institutional and philanthropic sectors. We made sure that everyone brought what they could and that’s really helped us a lot.”

Brown said knowing your region’s strengths and how they can be marketed, as well as what can be improved is critically important.

“We’ve really done a lot of work trying to figure out how to build networks across our businesses and organizations,” he said, “We need to build a really strong network so that when any of us succeed, all of us can succeed.”

Networking and cocktails for the B380 Excellence Awards will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner will start at 6:30 p.m.

Individual tickets are $50. For tickets, www.TheGazette.com/tickets.

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