“I congratulate director Mike Downing and the dedicated team at the Missouri Department of Economic Development on this prestigious honor,” Gov. Nixon said. “They, along with the many local partners, work tirelessly to promote our state as the best place to do business—and after a record year for job creation and capital investment, this distinction is well-deserved.”
To develop the Top 10 State Economic Development Organizations list, AEDI/Pollina Corporate evaluated states’ economic development organization’s performance, and awarded points based on marketing of the state to employers, efforts for attracting new business and assisting existing state employers. Missouri led the nation with a score of 112. Utah earned the number 10 spot with a score of 84.
“When it came to picking a winner, Missouri made a strong case for receiving top honors,” said Brent A. Pollina, Esq., Vice President of AEDI/Pollina Corporate. “With its strong project management team, extensive incentive programs, clear marketing message, and knowledgeable leadership, Missouri has made a clear and convincing case for being our choice for top Economic Development department.”
The designation is based in large part on the AEDI/Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States study, which examines 32 factors relative to state efforts to be pro-business.
Missouri moved up the chart to number 8 on this year’s AEDI/Pollina Corporate Top Pro-Business States list, one spot up from 2013. The selection process is based on a comprehensive approach that looks at job retention and creation efforts of all 50 states and examines more than 30 factors relative to state efforts to create business-friendly environments.
After calling for a streamlining of Missouri’s economic incentive programs in his 2013 State of the State Address, Gov. Nixon signed into a law a comprehensive strategy to support economic growth and create career opportunities for Missourians. Missouri Works consolidated four of its business development incentives into a single program with uniform of definitions and a streamlined applications process to cut through red tape. Missouri Works also enables more small businesses and businesses in rural areas to participate as well as provides targeted benefits to existing Missouri businesses. In addition, Missouri Works consolidated the state’s workforce training programs into a single, streamlined program that is more closely aligned with the state's other economic development programs. It also targets workforce development resources more efficiently toward job placement and training for job-seekers.
In fiscal year 2014, Missouri experienced the best year on record for job creation and capital investments, partnering with dozens of growing companies to announce 121 expansion projects, which included plans to create a total of 28,198 new jobs and invest more than $6.35 billion in the Show-Me State. During that same time, Missouri landed the largest expansion in state history when Cerner announced plans to create up to 16,000 new jobs with a $4.45 billion investment.
Missouri’s statewide efforts towards business development consists of a public-private partnership, which is divided by function between the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) and a private sector partner, the Hawthorn Foundation and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Missouri Partnership. DED, along with the 13 contracted international offices, work to attract foreign direct investment to the state, facilitate exporting for Missouri businesses, as well as focus on business expansion, retention, and workforce development. The role of the Missouri Partnership is to attract businesses to the state as well as manage related marketing.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) and its partners work with local economic development agencies throughout the state, as well as community colleges and workforce development agencies to improve opportunities for business development and foster economic growth. DED’s divisions and boards, including but not limited to the Missouri Technology Corporation, the Division of Business and Community Development, Missouri Development Finance Board, and the Division of Workforce Development, also provide crucial financial support to sustain a healthy and diverse competitive business community.
Entrepreneurs or businesses interested in learning about these resources should visit Mo.gov.