America's economic system, from the local city level to regional, state and federal levels, both public and private sectors, were all built upon the bedrock of a segregated society. Throughout the 20th century, as the nation progressed from an Agrarian Economy to a Manufacturing Economy to a new knowledge-based, tech-driven globally competitive Innovation Economy, the status quo of segregation remained. Over time, the segregated quarters of America added to its minority sectors, women and rural residents regardless of race. Huge swaths of the US talent pool have been left out of the fast-paced Innovation Economy. With a growing number of global competitors, America must disrupt the economic segregation policies and practices of the past and embrace opportunities to cultivate its diverse talent across races, gender and geography to ensure all Americans have access to opportunity to contribute their skills to improve our workforce and entrepreneurial innovations and overall competitiveness of the US team.
As the voices of unemployed and under-employed workers crying out for more jobs grow louder, a faint voice amid the cacophony is starting to be heard asking, "Who will create these new jobs?"
The answer requires an economic paradigm shift in local, regional and national strategies to empower all Americans to not only be qualified workers in a 21st century tech-driven society, but also become future job creators.
ScaleUp Partners envision a 21st century landscape where Inclusive Competitiveness is the solution.
Simply described, Inclusive Competitiveness is a community systems framework through which local leaders proactively infuse policies, strategies, investments and programs that improve the performance of underrepresented populations in the productivity pipeline of higher-growth entrepreneurship in the innovation economy.
Inculcate Communities with New Narrative: Entrepreneurs and "intrapreneurs" (employees infused with entrepreneurial skills and talent) are the fuel propelling innovation hubs and startup-dense metros across the nation. Underrepresented populations can be transformed by this new economic narrative permeating every nook and cranny of urban and rural communities, including where low-income families reside.
Identify Inclusive Opportunities: Ironically, entrepreneurial growth is most prevalent among Black and Hispanic populations, at 60% and 44% growth rates respectively, despite their significant lag in education achievement and economic productivity in the innovation economy. That's more than triple and double the national average of 18%. Investment in channeling such interest toward economic growth sectors in the region can result in new market opportunities and job creation.
Connect the Disconnected: Entrepreneurial talent can be found in historically disconnected communities within a few minutes of innovation corridors where business incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces are located. Such talent is found often just a short drive from activities like Hackathons, Startup Weekends and pitch competitions, yet disconnected from such knowledge and activity networks and resources. Development of frameworks that connect these disconnected communities to existing resources can result in greater awareness, engagement and participation in the local innovation ecosystems by underrepresented populations.
Raise Awareness: ScaleUp Partners raises awareness of local solutions and existing value hidden in the blind spots of urban and rural regions. We catalyze new policy measures, strategies and infrastructure investments to scale up and expand existing resources while fostering collaboration and strengthening relationships across eight Communities of Influence. We also recognize that it is no one's job within the region to develop such collaboration. We assist regions in developing such critical collaboration and shared vision.
Build Inclusive Competitiveness Frameworks: We assist leaders in their efforts to increase talent flow through inclusive pipelines servicing the high-wage tech-based workforce; and we provide a foundation upon which regions can scale up the higher-growth tech-driven entrepreneurial landscape through the lens of innovation, inclusion and impact built into new community systems.
The result is a thriving regional innovation ecosystem built upon a foundation of economic inclusion, starting with early stage entrepreneurial education that continues through higher education, workforce and entrepreneurial development.
We measure success over the long haul by moving the economic metric needles currently established, and adding missing data indices that identify the contributions of underrepresented and economically disconnected communities.