STRATEGY & ACTION PLAN
Background. As referenced in the SWOT analysis SPREDD has significant potential for economic growth through building economic development capacity. The following strategic direction and action plan is presented in order to achieve that goal. This process begins with the adoption of a vision statement and goals from which come exact objectives and specific action plans to implement each. This effort is designed to align with other municipal, regional and island wide economic development planning, including the Southern Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and the Puerto Rico Planning Board. The latter has a CEDS in place and has been given the authority to submit this CEDS as well.
Vision. The Southern Puerto Rico Economic Development District will position its six municipalities as leaders in building capacity, successfully implementing strategic initiatives, and improving the quality of life for all the region’s citizens.
Mission. The mission of SPREDD is to build economic development and economic growth capacity through a united regional effort centered around the five strategic initiatives developed by regional leaders and endorsed by EDA.
Goals. SPREDD has five goals corresponding to the initiatives presented in this document. They are:
- Build economic development capacity within the region.
- Maximize benefits of Port of the Americas in Ponce.
- Provide targeted support for most promising industry sectors/clusters.
- Address specific issues/opportunities to build additional economic development capacity.
- Support creation of a regional resilient sustainable development initiative centered on blue and green infrastructure as a global best practice.
Although some of the weaknesses and threats previously identified in the SWOT Analysis are not under the control of the SPREDD, clarification is made through SPREDD goal number 4, having the effect of identifying them and that as the process moves forward, those issues will be addressed and routed through the official and authorized channels of communication with the State Agencies supporting this CEDS effort. Clear and timely communication through established channels both internally and externally will be an important part of the implementation of this CEDS.
STRATEGY & ACTION PLAN
The following five strategic initiatives are to implement the goals stated above through detailed and prioritized action steps, developed with active input from stakeholders throughout the region and flowing from the SWOT analysis.
GOAL 1 – BUILD ECONOMIC CAPACITY WITHIN THE REGION
Southern Puerto Rico has extraordinary potential to climb out of their current poverty rates and into prosperity. But to affectively do that, the region must build economic development capacity through establishment of a governing organization for SPREDD’s operations, professional education and training for economic development professionals, coupled with establishing an economic development department or organization in each municipality (currently only the Municipality of Ponce has such an entity in full operation), and developing relationships with national and international professional organizations. Finally, SPREDD should collaborate with the Southern Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce to build regional capacity.
ESTABLISH SPREDD AS A CATALYST FOR CAPACITY BUILDING THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN PUERTO RICO
Through successful submission of this document, and approval by EDA, SPREDD will be organized as a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization for the express purpose of improving the quality of life in southern Puerto Rico by increasing capacity for economic development.
TIMELINE: The following action items should be taken to accomplish this goal by September 30, 2021.
- Establish an organizational structure from which SPREDD can successfully operate. SPREDD must file for incorporation as a registered nonprofit Puerto Rico corporation, and concurrently must apply for 501(c)6 designation by the Internal Revenue Service. This is a requirement for designation as an EDD.
- Appoint a board of directors comprised of leaders representing all six municipalities in the SPREDD region. A board of directors containing leaders in the private and nonprofit sectors must be appointed, and an initial training session must be held so that they may understand their duties.
- Secure office facilities and hire competent staff to manage the operation and oversee successful implementation of the initiatives and activities outlined in the CEDS.
DEVELOP PROFESSIONAL TRAINING, EDUCATION, AND INFORMATION FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONALS THROUGHOUT THE REGION
The SPREDD region has a shortage of well-trained economic development professionals. To address this shortage, a robust economic development professional education system must be developed and implemented.
TIMELINE: The goal is to train 100 professionals by September 30, 2022.
- Establish a relationship with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and organize an initial site visit and workshops to train SPREDD board and staff on how EDDs operate.
- Develop and deliver a set of workshops on foundational principles and practices of economic development for both professionals and volunteer leaders in the region.
- Provide ongoing access to information and best practices through creation of a resource library within the eddpr.org website.
- Encourage participation in NADO and similar organizations that provide professional development workshops and courses, and for professional certifications in the field.
SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS FOR EACH MUNICIPALITY, FOCUSED ON WORKFORCE EXPANSION/RETENTION, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND ATTRACTION
- Provide advice and counsel to help support establishment of either public, public private, or private economic development organizations in each municipality.
- These organizations would market their municipalities to attract jobs and investment, provide support to existing companies around either retaining existing jobs or creating new ones through expansion, and support entrepreneurship and small businesses. These are complementary activities that can be made more successful through primary activities in building economic development capacity in the region.
SUPPORT/PARTNER WITH THE SOUTHERN PUERTO RICO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO BUILD CAPACITY
- The southern Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce should be viewed as a valuable partner in all these efforts. Establishing an ongoing relationship with the Southern Chamber is critical to the success of all initiatives SPREDD is undertaking.
- Through both formal and informal agreements, establish and maintain a close working relationship with the Southern Chamber.
SUPPORT THE EXISTING THIRD SECTOR CAPACITY BUILDING LABF3S INITIATIVE
- LabF3S is an initiative of the Titin Foundation, supported by the EDA Economic Recovery Support Function, designed to increase capacity of the nonprofit sector. The initiative focuses on ensuring nonprofits obtain 501c3 or 1101 designation from the PR Treasury and/or IRS for grant eligibility, providing information on philanthropic and federal grant opportunities, and training in grant application, administration, and post award management. SPREDD will support this initiative both as an economic capacity initiative and a component of the Ocean Economy Resilience Strategy initiative.
GOAL 1 – METRICS TO MONITOR