National leaders in economics and business met at the Forum on American Competitiveness Wednesday to discuss economic efficiency in today’s global economy; and though this meeting had absolutely no relation to the DNC, Charlotte was the focal point of their discussion. They believe a solution to the country’s economic problems could be found right here in the Queen City.
Michael Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at the Harvard Business School, focused on what he refers to as “clusters” – masses of a specific industry in a specific location – and with 260 energy companies and 30,000 jobs…it’s safe to say Charlotte has an energy cluster.
According to Porter, “Charlotte has recognized this critical mass in the energy field and started really building on it, and we’re seeing the enormous vitality you can create when that happens, what the research shows is clusters are overwhelmingly important in driving job growth. It’s not isolated companies that drive job growth, it’s where you can build a critical mass of clusters … and Charlotte has become a model for that.”
In other words, experts are praising Charlotte as the poster child for how this economic approach can work. Citing that cities need to focus on their particular “specialty” industry (or critical mass in Porter’s words) and foster the growth of clusters pertaining to that field as Charlotte has done with energy. The panel seemed to agree that this method, working from the bottom up with the business community at the regional level, is how we can solve economic woes at the national levels