Investing in Maine’s Most Precious Asset

At the heart of all economic growth and opportunity for Maine is a person with an idea.  And our overall success in growing Maine’s economy will ultimately depend on how effectively our economic development “system” nurtures, networks, supports, and strengthens the people who create and develop those ideas so that they can truly bear fruit for Maine. This was the message that Michael Duguay, the Director of Development  for the City of Augusta and the co-founder of the Kennebec Valley Entrepreneurial Network, shared so simply and so eloquently with over 60 leaders at the Maine Development Foundation’s recent Leadership Unplugged session at Colby College.

Photo of Mike DuguayAs I think about our ability to compete effectively in the ever-globalizing marketplace, I keep coming back to the productivity of our businesses and the productivity of our people – those very people who generate the ideas that add value. The business survey that served as the basis of the Making Maine Work report clearly articulated and prioritized the major barriers to increasing business productivity as being the cost of health insurance, the cost of energy, the individual income tax, and regulatory policy – and this seems to be where we spend the vast majority of our economic development time and energy, which is certainly important.  But the survey also very clearly articulated that the greatest opportunity for growth is a skilled workforce – those hard-working people who generate the ideas and the innovations that enhance productivity, competitiveness and, ultimately, growth and prosperity.

What if we changed the definition of “economic development” to focus, first and foremost and fully, on the development of our most precious asset – our people?  And what if we invested in these assets from cradle to grave, ensuring that each and every one was able to reach their full potential? What if we re-shaped and re-focused our public incentives (roughly a quarter of a billion dollars annually) to spur investment in the education, health and innovative capacity of our people – those very people with ideas – the ideas that are at the heart of all economic growth and opportunity for Maine?  Just Imagine the possibilities for Maine…

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About Maine Development Foundation

Empowering. Strengthening. Guiding. The Maine Development Foundation (MDF) drives sustainable, long-term economic growth for Maine. MDF stimulates new ideas, develops leaders, and provides common ground for solving problems and advancing issues.
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One Response to Investing in Maine’s Most Precious Asset

  1. Ah ! My Stand & Deliver ! We are launched – we see the path – We need to continue to inspire the work and put the piesces in place. It is the best future imaginable for Maine and her people and we can lead and inspire the world. DIRGO at its most powerful !

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