EngenuitySC released its newest Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report yesterday: an in-depth document that highlights areas in which Columbia is thriving + where it has room to improve in comparison to similar Southeastern cities. The goal: To help Cola be the best city it can be, a.k.a. an awesome place to visit, live, learn, work + play.
What is it measuring? 📈
The report considers these 5 Indicators of Competitive Communities:
- Talent | Is Cola attracting + retaining a smart, skilled workforce?
- Entrepreneurial + Business Environment | Is it easy to do business here? Are startups supported + fostered?
- Innovative Capacity | How does Cola support and develop new technology + products?
- Industry Clusters | What industries bring in jobs?
- Livability | Is Cola a dynamic live, learn, work + play environment?
Who are we being compared to? 📈
9 Southeastern cities with a similar MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) to ours – meaning they have comparable populations + economic landscapes as well as factors like major universities + similar technological strengths to ours. So places like Knoxville, Tallahassee, Winston-Salem + Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin. According to the report – the “aspirational MSA” we strive to be like is Raleigh, N.C. (Oh hey, RALtoday.)
What do the scores mean? 📈
The number for each indicator (like Entrepreneurial + Business Environment: 116) shows how each MSA compares to the national average. So an index of 116 = 16% better than the U.S. average.
Where does Columbia stand this year? 📈
Here are a few highlights of the 2019-20 Competitiveness Report + what they mean:
👍 We maintained or increased our rankings in 4 out of 5 indicators since last year’s rankings. We decreased in just 1 area – talent.
💼 Since the 2017 report, we’ve seen substantial increases in the proportion of business services employment (i.e. accounting, legal, etc.) – an indicator of a healthy business environment.
🎨 We’re ranked third for the Livability factor of vitality, defined as the percentage of the population aged 15-44 years old. Lookin’ youthful, Cola.
🏆 The most-improved award goes to Entrepreneurial + Business Environment, the indicator that has most steadily improved since these reports started in 2014. This means Columbia is a great city to start a new business venture in.
🎓 UofSC is producing a significant talent pool. The Darla Moore School of Business’s most recent graduating class was its largest (1086 undergrads); had its highest job placement rate (84%); and received the highest average starting salaries to date ($57,837). Go Cocks.
Interested in digging into the data yourself? See the full report on Engenuity SC’s website.
And JFYI, the release of the 2019-20 Competitiveness Report is part of a full week of celebrating our region’s successes. See the full lineup of events for Competitiveness Week 2020, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina – happening now through Friday, Jan. 31. 🎉
What do you think about these findings? Agree/disagree? Let us know in a comment below. Ⓟ