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Developing Industry Clusters in Northeast Indiana

By: Nicole Satalino on July 7th, 2020

Target Industries Provide Unique Opportunities for Economic Growth

In Northeast Indiana, we see opportunity. We embrace challenges, and we collaborate to achieve a higher level of results. Every day, we work towards achieving our Vision 2030 goals, including:

  1. Increasing per capita personal income annually against the national average to 90%
  2. Increasing the population of Northeast Indiana residents to 1 million
  3. Increasing postsecondary education and credential attainment to more than 60%

We have a vision of achieving these goals to become one of the nation’s most prosperous regions. In order to achieve these goals, we need to focus on the economic drivers of quality businesses, quality talent and quality of place.

At the core of this economic growth are the region’s unique target industries paired with the business attraction, talent attraction and talent development efforts that exist within each industry cluster.

In 2016, the Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Community Research Institute completed an analysis of business development opportunities in Fort Wayne and the 11-county Northeast Indiana region, identifying trends and the top-performing industries we have here. This report, along with research conducted by True North Strategic Advisors and Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting, has informed the creation, development and growth of our top 5 target industries listed below:

The Brookings Institution released “Rethinking Industry Clusters” the report in 2018, providing insight on the power of industry clusters. The report defines target industries as, “groups of firms that gain a competitive advantage through local proximity and interdependence—offering a compelling framework for local and state leaders to analyze and support their economies.”

Research shows that by building strong industry clusters, we will become more competitive as a region, attract top talent, and create an environment that fosters the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship.  

The most important step in industry cluster development is convening industry leaders to guide the strategic direction of the work and to come together to discuss industry challenges, opportunities, supply chain gaps, the business climate and talent needs. Cluster development is primarily focused on the growth and competitiveness of our existing businesses. Once a strong ecosystem is created, it allows the opportunity to then focus on business attraction and continued job growth, which increases business investment in the region.

As we look ahead to the second half of 2020 and into 2021, our industry clusters are a large focus for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

We have the clusters identified and the data to support the direction and growth of each industry cluster. We will continue to ensure we have the most relevant data to support and guide each cluster’s development. We are beginning to set sustainable strategies for each target industry, and our Specialty Insurance, Food & Ag and Medical Device & Technology target industries are well on their way. We are excited to continue to lead the region through this cluster development process with the commitment, collaboration and strategic leadership of our investors and the business community.

Together, we can achieve our Vision 2030 goals. Together, we can accomplish more and build a stronger, more prosperous region for Northeast Indiana residents.

To learn more about our industry clusters, please reach out to Business Development Manager Nicole Satalino at nicole@neindiana.com or Senior Vice President of Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer Chad Ruston at chad@neindiana.com.