Greater MSP Says It Can Help the Twin Cities “Prosper”

The new economic development organization plans to roll out a marketing campaign for the region-and it has set a goal of helping the area add 100,000 jobs in the next five years, or about 25 percent more than the number of jobs expected to come through natural growth.

Greater MSP, a regional economic development group, has offered some insight into how it plans to revamp the area's image and attract businesses to the Twin Cities.

The public-private partnership-which represents 11 Minnesota counties and two in western Wisconsin-held a launch party in Minneapolis on Tuesday, where it unveiled a new brand and marketing campaign for the region. Its leaders, including Michael Langley, who was named CEO in March, discussed their plans before Governor Mark Dayton, county and city officials, and other guests.

The group said it will develop a marketing campaign to target five industry sectors for growth: health and life sciences, headquarters and business services, food and agribusiness, innovation and technology, and financial and insurance services. Langley said in a statement that those target areas represent “the best return on our investment in terms of jobs created.”

“Prosper” will be the theme of the campaign, and the region's strong work force will be touted in an effort to attract businesses to the area. One sample ad (see above) features representatives from major local companies-including 3M, Target, and General Mills-and a brief explanation of what makes them industry leaders.

The group set an ambitious goal for job growth: It wants to see 100,000 jobs added in the region during the next five years-the amount it says would bring the Twin Cities back up to the national average for job growth. That's 25,000 more jobs than the 75,000 expected to come through natural growth during the next half-decade.

A report by the Star Tribune indicates that Greater MSP's marketing campaign will include television, radio, and print advertising as well as social media and a new Web site aimed at businesses and workers in the process of selecting a location.

“For the first time, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region will have a one-stop shop for businesses hoping to retain their workers, grow, and expand their operations, or for those looking to move to a new community,” Langley said in a statement.

The Star Tribune points out that while a significant amount of Greater MSP's first-year budget of $2.8 million came from the private sector, about 30 percent was derived from local governments. Some skeptics told the Minneapolis newspaper that they object to the use of taxpayer money and believe the organization's plans are redundant, as other local groups carry out similar efforts.

Greater MSP is an initiative started by The Itasca Project-a conglomeration of about 60 CEOs from across the state, public-sector officials, and leaders from area foundations. The Itasca Project conducted research that indicated that the Twin Cities lack a centralized regional structure for developing a brand for the area. The group unveiled plans in September 2010 to fundraise for Greater MSP.

Its official launch comes less than a month after Capital City Partnership, a 15-year-old nonprofit economic development organization in St. Paul, disbanded. That organization's executive director, Joel Akason, will join Greater MSP.