Greater MSP theme is expansive, inclusive and intelligent


Greater MSP is a relatively new and ambitious effort to attract and retain economic development in the Twin Cities region, and the group’s evolving theme has to be one of the most intelligent and expansive in the nation. This week’s annual meeting featured speakers and a new mission statement that emphasized cultural connectedness and social collaboration in a way I’ve never quite seen before from a business group. Here’s the new and improved theme, handed out on glossy cards to the hundreds of partners and supporters who attended the up-tempo event at the Guthrie Theater. It’s a speech that might be coming soon to an elevator near you. I added the underlining.

The Greater Minneapolis Saint Paul region will lead the world in solving its most important challenges for the future. Safe and abundant food, clean water and health solutions will drive the global economy in coming years. The Greater MSP region is the leader in these technologies and industries, and has the R&D, financial and business services infrastructure to support them. Our highly educated and culturally connected workforce will create the business success. Our quality of life and social collaboration will sustain that success. Businesses prosper here. People prosper here.

The underlined phrases should appeal to today’s increasingly sophisticated business-location deciders. The message is clear: your business will have a better chance of long-term success with our Minnesota ethic of public-private collaboration and our emphasis on total community, quality of life, racial and cultural diversity, and smart investments in human capital and infrastructure. Speakers at the 3rd annual meeting were inspiring around those themes: They included: Ravi Norman, CEO of Thor Construction and one of the Twin Cities’ top African-American business leaders; Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development, and Doug Baker, CEO of Fortune 500 member Ecolab, and who has emerged in recent years as one of our region’s most community-minded business moguls.

Oh, and one other thing from the annual report. Business is thriving in the Twin Cities, relative to other regions and compared to the last decade. Greater MSP deserves some of that credit and we heard about its role in helping new companies move and expand here. But I think the group’s equally important contribution is helping define, for us and for the rest of the world, the best of what we are, and hope to be.