Governor Carney Takes Steps to Restructure Delaware’s Economic Development Efforts, Create Jobs

14 AUGUST, 2017

Governor John Carney on Monday held a signing ceremony for House Bill 226, a major piece of legislation that restructures Delaware’s economic development efforts, with a focus on supporting Delaware small businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Governor Carney also signed incorporation paperwork creating the Delaware Prosperity Partnership – a public-private partnership that will leverage private sector resources to enhance business recruitment, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, support workforce development efforts, and produce forward looking-analyses on economic trends to best position Delaware’s economy to grow.

Governor Carney holds signed incorporation documents for the Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

Legislation restructuring Delaware’s economic development efforts, and authorizing creation of the partnership, was sponsored by Representative Bryon Short, Senator Jack Walsh, Senator Brian Pettyjohn, and Representative Lyndon Yearick.

Monday’s ceremony was held at the Delaware Innovation Space at the DuPont Experimental Station research campus in Alapocas.

“By restructuring our economic development efforts, we’re positioning Delaware to create good-paying jobs, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and ensure that Delaware remains a leading state to do business,” said Governor Carney. “We will partner with private business to draw on new resources, and ideas, for improving our economy. And we will offer new, targeted support for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are responsible for much of our economic growth and job creation. Thank you to members of the General Assembly and members of our Economic Development Working Group for their leadership on this important issue.”

On January 18 – his first full day in office – Governor Carney signed Executive Order #1 to create the Economic Development Working Group and explore a new economic development strategy. The Governor worked closely with members of the General Assembly to approve the concept and funding for the public-private entity, as well as a new division at the Department of State to oversee responsibilities for small business development and tourism.

Governor Carney’s plan to fundamentally restructure Delaware’s economic development efforts includes two significant elements:

  • Creation of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership to partner with private business to improve how Delaware attracts new business and job growth, and;
  • Creation of a new Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism within state government to offer targeted support for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and minority-owned businesses.

Governor Carney will co-chair the board of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership. The partnership – which will be run day-to-day by a chief executive officer and a full-time staff – will lead business marketing efforts for the state, with a focus on attracting early-stage and technology-focused businesses, recruitment of large employers, and expansion of international business opportunities for Delaware companies. Its leaders also will work with employers and Delaware educators to fill key talent gaps in the state, and conduct forward-looking economic analyses to inform its work. The state will jointly fund the partnership’s operations with private business.

Delaware’s new Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism will provide guidance to small business owners on how to navigate local, state and federal laws and regulations. The division will help small businesses identify resources such as local incubator programs, financing, and networking events. It also will improve the state’s outreach to women and minority entrepreneurs, and veteran-owned businesses. And division leaders will oversee Delaware’s taxpayer-funded incentive programs for job creation.

Restructuring the state’s economic development efforts, and partnering strategically with the private sector, was a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware, and of the Economic Development Working Group, a panel chaired by Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College, and Rod Ward, President and CEO of CSC.

Reaction to Governor Carney’s signing on Monday:

“This legislation is forward-thinking and recognizes the changes that need to take place to foster economic development in our state,” said Representative Bryon Short, D-Brandywine Hundred. “I am encouraged by the focus on innovation and entrepreneurship with the new partnerships under this office and look forward to see new opportunities in Delaware going forward.”

“It’s more clear than ever that we need to adapt to a changing economy,” said Senator Jack Walsh, D-Stanton. “That means attracting new businesses, helping startups and small businesses flourish, and supporting the best-in-class workforce that made us the world’s leading economy in the first place. This will give Delaware a faster, more nimble and responsive means of interacting with potential clients. In each case, the public and private sectors need to collaborate to keep us ahead of the ball. The public-private partnership is a win-win that will make our economy more dynamic, lead to better public policy, and equip our workforce with the skills that the new economy demands.”

“Speaking as a former business owner, and as someone who is presently employed in the private sector, I am very enthusiastic about this initiative,” said Representative Lyndon Yearick, R-Dover South. “Bringing experienced business people directly into the process of fostering entrepreneurship is both pragmatic and promising.”

“It has been an honor to work with Rod and so many leaders throughout our state to deliver on the Governor’s first priority – creating an economic development model that will position our state to meet the challenges that lie ahead,” said Dr. Mark Brainard, President of Delaware Technical Community College. “Governor Carney’s vision, combined with his leadership in getting this legislation passed, lays the foundation for continued success in keeping, adding and creating new jobs in the future.”

“The creation of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership is a landmark achievement in the future economic development efforts for the state,” said Terry Murphy, Chairman of the Delaware Business Roundtable and President of Bayhealth. “For the first time, Delaware government, employers and academia are formally cooperating to create a culture of growth and entrepreneurship as we work to expand the state’s economy by attracting jobs, talent and capital investment.”

“Catalyzing innovation and entrepreneurship is critical to our economic success as a state and as a community,” said Bill Provine, President and CEO of the Delaware Innovation Space, who hosted Monday’s ceremony. “The strength of public-private partnerships such as the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the Delaware Innovation Space enable us to focus and channel our energy together to achieve the best results for all of Delaware.”

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