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An AI Portal for Business Leaders

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An AI Portal for Business Leaders

Sean Brazier shares an article that explains how their EDai portal provides analytical tools to help business leaders. 

Our Located by EDai portal is live! Our analytical tools help business leaders and economic developers make better, faster location decisions, especially when it comes to economic development incentives. 

To coincide with the launch of our portal, I’m going to spend this month sharing some of the academic research and professional experiences that inspired the creation of EDai. 

This article covers three topics: 

  1.     The context and challenges associated with economic development incentives
  2.     The opportunity to improve the incentives process
  3.     How EDai’s unique tools unlocks this opportunity

Context

Each year, communities across the country spend upwards of $80B on economic development incentives. One study found that up to half of all awards went to just 50 large firms. To emphasize the point, less than 1% of recipients accounted for nearly 50% of the money. 

Scholars have explored various reasons for the use (or abuse) of incentives through increasingly sophisticated quantitative methods. They’ve focused on who benefits from incentives (e.g., firms and politicians); when they’re awarded (e.g., during electoral cycles); and even how they’re structured (e.g., visible vs. concealed incentives like tax exemptions). The one thing that scholars can agree on is that they cannot agree. 

Challenges

My doctoral research on state and local economic development immediately followed my time helping to lead Virginia’s winning response to Amazon’s search for its second headquarters. My professional and academic experiences have convinced me that the most important and powerful explanation for how state incentive packages could vary so dramatically might be the simplest: the lack of transparency.

As in, communities don’t know who their competition is, so they make incentives offers in the equivalent of a blind auction. To me, this is one of the most reasonable explanations for how incentives offers could range from the hundreds of millions to at least seven billion dollars for the same project. And, there were rumors that there were even higher offers.

 

Key points include:

  • Tapping into resources
  • Solves this transparency issues
  • Individual program availability, eligibility, and benefits

 

Read the full article, Inspirations for Located by EDai, on LinkedIn.