Essay: Building a Baton Rouge that competes above its weight class

Business Report

For Business Report’s 40th anniversary edition, we asked nine community leaders and young professionals how Baton Rouge can fulfill its potential as an economically thriving midsized city. Below is an excerpt from Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp’s essay, in which he discusses how Baton Rouge can build long-term economic success: 

Economic development is undergoing a sea change. While regions and states in the past have relied heavily on traditional business recruiting, today economic success is determined by access to talent. When many workers can live anywhere for remote jobs, working on placemaking that attracts and retains talent becomes central to the fight for economic development.

This brings us to a pivotal moment for rethinking how we do economic development and plan for the Baton Rouge area’s economic future. I’ve asked this question of business leaders over the last year: Will we rise to the task to emerge as an economic powerhouse? The answer is a resounding “hell yes.” Businesses—whether small or large—are more than ready to push beyond the status quo and embrace a mindset that the finish line does not exist.

But what does that look like? Our BRAC vision is a dynamic, midsized metro that’s punching way above its weight class. To get there, we see four things that are critical: investing to become a talent magnet for 25- to 44-year-olds, a hyperfocus on growing jobs in emerging industry sectors, expanding our economic inclusivity, and boosting the region’s livability.

Read Knapp’s full essay from the latest edition of Business Report. 

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