Collaboration is the New Competition
The Global South Metro Exchange held its first event in Greenville in July, branded “Collaboration is the New Competition,” sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, with support from the Brookings Institution. Multi-regional business leaders coalesced to focus on global competitiveness and to find synergies and opportunities for collaboration between Upstate South Carolina, Charleston, Atlanta and Charlotte, as a means of improving the global competitiveness of our collective region.
“The roads that connect Atlanta, Charlotte, the Upstate and Charleston—Interstates 85 and 26—are a physical manifestation of the many points of affinity between our markets, and the Global South Metro Exchange program aims to explore additional opportunities among transportation and logistics, trade and exports, middle market opportunities, workforce challenges, technology and innovation to ensure we’re working together to align the Southeast as an economic powerhouse where collaboration is the new competition,’” touted John Lummus, president and CEO of the Upstate SC Alliance and primary organizer of the event.
Together, business leaders and organization representatives from Upstate SC Alliance, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Charlotte Regional Collaborative for a Global Economy examined their assets and explored their synergies for working together to boost the already booming growth of this southeastern U.S. region.
The event’s theme, “Collaboration is the New Competition,” is a driver to build relationships, explore best practices, and forge connections that support economic development activities across state lines. Discussion topics included globalization, transportation, free trade agreements, workforce challenges and opportunities, the Post-Panamax Ripple Effect, open technology and aligning export support with industry needs.
The keynote speaker, Marek Gootman, a fellow and director of strategic partnerships and global engagements at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, examined the opportunities for the Southeast region to look inside its borders to see if the competitiveness of the region as a whole exceeds the competitiveness of the individual states, cities and localities.
According to Gootman, within the larger Southeast region are a multitude of unique assets and networks including, but not limited to large businesses, small and medium businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, schools and colleges, an expanding workforce as well as the infrastructure. Numerous other areas within the United States are already focused on their collective opportunities.
These regions seek identities that include:
- Leadership with a World View
- Legacy of Global Orientation
- Specializations with a Global Reach
- Adaptability to Global Dynamics
- Culture of Knowledge and Innovation
- Opportunity and Appeal to the World
- International Connectivity
- Investment for Strategic Priorities
- Government as a Global Enabler
- Compelling Global Identity
Gootman asked, “Could the major metropolitan areas of the Southeastern U.S. leverage complementary economic assets, industry clusters and global identity to better compete and attract commercial attention internationally?” He encouraged developing a list of Global Trade Assets, Global Innovation Assets, Global Talent Assets and Global Infrastructure Assets.
Gootman examined the Southeast region itself, noted the proximity and connectivity of Atlanta, Greenville, Charlotte and Charleston, and suggested that the assets offer substantial new avenues for growth. Topics addressed included comprehensive regional/state economic strategies, exports and foreign investment, infrastructure, innovation, workforce, finance, and governance.
At the Brookings Institute, Gootman focuses on bridging think tank perspective with real world action to increase the vitality of cities and metropolitan areas. His activities involve policy development, demonstration projects, peer learning networks, and external relations. He engages public and private partners in more than 30 metro areas and 20 states, as well as national interests, to advance adoption of the program’s ideas. He also leads the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year, $15 million project to help U.S. and international metro areas strengthen their global economic connections and competitiveness.
“The Charlotte Regional Collaborative for a Global Economy is delighted to participate in the Global South Metro Exchange,” commented Michael Almond, Executive Director. “Our collaborative is a consortium of the 15 community colleges serving more than 3.5 million people in 29 counties in North and South Carolina. We are ‘community colleges providing leadership for global commerce’ in the greater Charlotte region, an integrated and interdependent region that is the economic heartbeat of the Carolinas.
“We are committed to regionalism as the driving force behind economic growth and development. We firmly believe that by working together collectively as a team, we can together accomplish more for the benefit of all of us than any one of us acting alone. And we are proud to support the contribution that the Global South Metro Exchange will make towards sustaining and enhancing our global competitiveness now and in the future.”
“The Metro Atlanta Chamber believes that competitiveness is not solely the prerogative of one metro area,” remarked Jorge Fernandez, Vice President of Global Commerce of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, “but instead is something that is enhanced by a regional approach. The metro Atlanta region can present a stronger global position when we leverage the assets and connectivity of our surrounding regional metros. As such, we are delighted to be a part of the Global South Metro Exchange.”
“The Charleston Regional Development Alliance and World Trade Center Charleston proudly represent the Charleston metro region in supporting the Global South Metro Exchange,” added David Ginn, President. “In the global marketplace, there are clear benefits for metropolitan areas with similar assets, goals, and economic drivers working together as super-regions to collaborate on shared opportunities and challenges. The Charleston metro’s economy ranks among the Top 20 in the nation for advanced industries and Top 10 for FDI. We look forward to building relationships with other top southeastern metros to ensure this strong economic progress continues for years to come.”