The question is often asked: "At what level does 'real' economic development take place?"
My answer: All levels.
From the perspective of business attraction, retention, and capacity planning, every entity plays an important role. Federal agencies, state economic development departments, county development authorities, port development authorities, chambers of commerce, county governments, local governments, quasi-government entities, downtown development authorities, main street boards, and other organizations assisting in providing services for businesses.
No one organization is more important than the other and no one organization can succeed alone. Relationships are the heart and soul of economic development.
State governments and county development authorities usually take the lead on large investment projects (mostly industrial in nature).
County and local governments are the go-to organizations for zoning, building and fire code enforcement, water and sewer.
Chambers of Commerce bring regional businesses together for issue advocacy, networking, and promotions.
All organizations complement each other and this works better when each entity understands the importance of partnerships and the interconnectedness of the world we live in.
When new businesses or new jobs are announced, regardless of the number, we all should celebrate.
When a businesses is blessed to open its doors for another year, we all should celebrate.
Economic development, real economic development, is successful and happens when we all work collaboratively.