The Regional Competitiveness Report is designed to serve as a resource for the entire community.
Whether you’re a private company, a community organization or a government agency, best practices show that measuring key data plays a critical role in establishing effective strategies and achieving real success. In other words, what gets measured is what gets done.
By helping our leaders prioritize issues and resources, and measuring our progress toward shared goals, we believe that the Regional Competitiveness Report can help all of us make a positive impact on the competitiveness and prosperity of Tampa Bay.
The idea to develop the Regional Competitiveness Report came out of the Tampa Bay Partnership’s own benchmark efforts in 2015, as it shifted its organizational focus away from two decades of business development and marketing, to a new mission based on public policy and advocacy.
As Partnership staff researched peer markets and organizations across the country, they found that each of these communities – and many others – published a comprehensive dashboard of regional economic indicators. These indicators provided an important resource to determine the community’s greatest needs and prioritize the community’s limited resources.
In October 2016, the Partnership’s governing body, its Council of Governors, chartered a Regional Indicators Task Force to research, develop and publish a Regional Competitiveness Report for Tampa Bay. Chuck Sykes, President and CEO of Sykes Enterprises, agreed to chair the effort.
Under Sykes’ leadership, the Task Force started with the premise to measure by fact, not conjecture, following a single, guiding principle: to create a more competitive and prosperous region. We need to first understand what drives our economy, quantify where we stand today, and then develop a way to measure and benchmark our progress. The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and United Way Suncoast, two of the region’s cornerstone philanthropic organizations, served as collaborative partners in the effort, and a diverse group of nearly 100 business and community organizations, as well as government and social service agencies, provided input throughout the process. Collectively, these stakeholders developed a framework for regional prosperity and selected the comparison communities against which we’d benchmark our performance.
The resulting report, released in November 2017, was a thorough examination of the state of the Tampa Bay region, focused on 60 indicators across five key drivers: economic vitality, innovation, infrastructure, talent and civic quality.
Today, the annual Regional Competitiveness Report serves as an invaluable resource for business and community leaders to coalesce around a common set of metrics and move the needle on the issues that impact Tampa Bay.
Within this report, a group of 19 communities are compared to the Tampa Bay region. Factors such as population and demography, the size of the economy, and the presence of regional assets (such as ports, research universities and military installations) were considered in developing this list, as well as the frequency of competition for economic development projects. These communities reflect both peer and aspirational relationships with Tampa Bay.
There are many ways to put the Regional Competitiveness Report to work for you and our region.
Use this research as a baseline indicator to measure the effectiveness of your work. Identify the indicators you can directly impact, and monitor whether they’re moving in the right direction over time.
Use these findings to help you prioritize your activities and resources. Align the initiatives you work on and the programs you fund with the indicators that drive our regional economy.
Use this data to support your advocacy efforts and pursue public policy solutions that address our greatest challenges.
Identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration with other organizations working toward common goals.
No single individual, organization or community is responsible for the success of our region, but everyone plays a role. It is our sincere hope that this report will, in some small measure, help you identify that role and determine where you can make a difference.
– Peter Drucker