Economic Development Tools for the Budget Conscious

Economic Development Tools for the Budget Conscious
Sue Swanback

Cities, states, and counties who want to actively recruit and welcome new businesses now have a new tool to help with what can seem like an overwhelming task.

GIS Planning is an economic development company who spent years aggregating data sets from government and proprietary sources to support their patented site selection portal called ZoomProspector.    This tool allows a webmaster with no technical experience to integrate search and browse tools for prospective businesses to not only determine if your locale is a good match, but to find the exact property that will meet their needs.

Recently City of Huntington Beach implemented the full suite of ZoomProspector tools in their new Economic Development (ED) website. They used the Intelligence Components to provide quick access to basic statistics like population breakdown by gender, age, educational level, income, workforce distribution, types of businesses, income and spending, housing, transportation, and tax rates.  Whew!  And if that weren’t enough to set their ED website apart, they also implemented the Interactive Data Maps to show demographics, spending, and workforce by location and industry clusters, to give businesses the ability to visually hone in on areas of the city where they might be best suited.

Then for the coup-de-grace, the City used ZoomProspector’s integration tools to hook up to the local real estate Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for commercial properties, so their site always has the latest available properties right there, searchable by just about any criteria you can imagine.  The City found that so valuable that virtually every page on the website has the “Find a Location” call to action, and using another integration tool they can see what businesses are searching.  The City has found that by actively reaching out to listing brokers and showing them their listings on the site really gives the brokers incentive to beef up their listings with rich content, which helps everybody.  

Because search and browse are free to any website user, many small businesses who do not have the privilege of working with a broker can essentially serve themselves through a site enhanced by ZoomProspector.  Doing this has freed up the City’s ED department from answering numerous telephone and email queries, and the City does not have to build their own tools and then collect or buy data to populate them.   The City can spend this time better by continuing to refine and enhance the website using analytics and metrics as a guide.   The City has found ZoomProspector to be a very cost-effective way to attract businesses to the area. 


For more information, please contact Xynergy to discuss how these tools can be integrated into your Economic Development website.

Source:  Site Selection in Surf City:  How Huntington Beach (CA) handles place marketing, GIS Planning Webinar, Thursday, March 16th, 2017 10:30-11 AM PST


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