Delaware looking to thrive with private, public partnership

3 APRIL, 2019

The final of three public presentations aimed at informing those in attendance of the work being done by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) to develop the economy in the First State.

DPP co-chairs Governor John Carney and board member Doneene Keemer Damon presented for a crowd filled more with elected officials than private citizens, but informed all present on the importance of Delaware having a public/private partnership when it came to making the most of the small but varying state economy.

Kurt Foreman is the President and CEO of DPP and detailed the four pillars of the partnership’s mission statement before going on to answer questions toward the end of the public meeting.

From the beginning of the Q&A, Foreman addressed the commitment to serving a diverse community, including businesses owned and run by people of color.

“We’re here to try and help everyone, not just certain folks in Delaware. We’re about trying to help all entrepreneurs so we’re talking about this partnership. The reality is that we have partners all the way up the state–at the community level, the county level, the state level and even some specialized partners in certain sectors,” said Foreman. “The combination of us, together, should have the capacity to help all sorts of companies whether they are on a local street or they are one of our largest employers in the state.”

He added that the work done by DPP aims to improve the quality of life for businesses and employees from teenagers to those who may be coming back into the workforce.

“Our effort is to not just create high paying jobs, but a variety of jobs because not all of us are at the same starting point. How do we make sure that there are jobs of all kinds,” asked Foreman. “Think about it like you would diversify your own portfolio if you have a 401k or something. We need to create whole groups of jobs at a variety of levels. Some of the projects we’ve worked on recently had everything from truck drivers to people who were going to work in a commercial kitchen to people who might be creating [software] code. There’s a variety of opportunities and there’s nothing that impacts a family or a person more than a great job. We hope that our jobs will affect lots and lots of Delawareans over time.”

A question was even asked about the appeal of foreign business and the attraction that Delaware may have when it comes to those affected by the United Kingdom’s looming ‘Brexit’ from the European Union.

“I think Delaware has an opportunity, because of the strength of our heritage as a business community, the benefit of our courts and our incorporation structure–we’re known as a place, around the world, to get started, but why not be a place to operate,” added Foreman. “I think we’re going to be out there telling that story–not just in the U.S., but to companies from all over because whether it’s Brexit or changes going on around in other parts of the world, Delaware may be the right place for them to grow and expand.”

Foreman noted that the approach of the DPP gets more people and businesses firmly invested in the economic growth of the First State.

“I think one of the things that makes public, private partnership exciting is that it brings new resources to the table,” he said. “In the past, when it was done by just the public sector, we had public dollars to bring to bear but no private dollars. By doing it this way, it leverages the public dollars a bit more aggressively because there are private dollars in the mix. We also get the know-how and the networks of the private sector that can introduce us to people or engage people with us to tell the story of Delaware. It’s sort of a 1+1=3 when you bring the group together like we are doing and I think the fact that we’re connected in Delaware makes that, hopefully, a stronger connection.”

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