In economic development, individual regions tend to focus their efforts on specific industries. In this series of posts, we’ll examine why several individual industries have focused their expansion efforts, ultimately, in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County.
With the steady growth of life sciences and biotechnology-related businesses, one might assume that any community has a legitimate shot at being the location of choice for one of these forward-thinking companies. In reality, there are key elements that tend to make certain locations stand out over others.
In the case of Winston-Salem, some of those elements revolve around where and how innovation tends to happen. For instance…
It’s fun when the hometown college has a great football team. But real academic quality tends to be the main attraction for big brains, big ideas and big business. More importantly, quality of academics has to extend beyond ivy-covered walls to state institutions and community colleges. And it’s not something that happens over night. For generations Winston-Salem has nurtured its universities and colleges as they have grown into regionally, nationally and in some cases globally recognized academic and research institutions.
Any community can throw the words “research park” in front of an office park and claim they have the perfect place for science or tech-related businesses. In truth, the research parks that succeed are developed with purpose in mind. Particularly for life science and biotech, parks must be designed and created with innovation and collaboration in mind. Piedmont Triad Research Park in downtown Winston-Salem is an urban campus based on those exact objectives with a hearty technology backbone and community-wide support.
Innovation street cred
Businesses and institutions want to be where innovation tends to happen, perhaps because they see it as a sign that an area is conducive to creativity and collaboration. Successful breakthroughs in regenerative medicine, nanotechnology, along with innovative programs in biotechnology have earned Winston-Salem a well-deserved reputation for a culture of creativity.
Naturally, other attributes play significant roles in the decision to start-up, expand or relocated here. But it is the community’s understanding of and commitment to creativity and innovation that companies love.
What factors make other industries’ hearts beat faster? We’ll dive into another industry in Part 2.