Municipal Government’s Economic Development Webpage

***I created the entry below for the City of Royal Oak (where I live) in 2011 and gave it to City officials. This project was a result of Dr. Strate’s “Policy Analysis” graduate course at Wayne State University. I was very pleased to see the City of Royal Oak adopt some of my recommendations. You can see Royal Oak’s economic development webpage here.

Title of Webpage Tab: Economic Development

 Title of Webpage:  Royal Oak Economic Development

The City of Royal Oak would like to welcome entrepreneurs and small businesses who would like to grow from first stage companies to a second stage companies and beyond. This webpage will communicate City economic news and activity. This website is a resource for City businesses and entrepreneurs.

Top and Center: The site should be 1) interactive and 2) updated regularly.

  • Blog (authorized access by City Manager, Mayor, DDA, Commissioners, GIS Intern, other officials).
  • Blog should be updated daily. Delegate the load. Entries may be comments on news from economic development sites
  • below. It could be journal summaries, comments on RO news, new City planning, new RO restaurants…a blog!
  • FaceBook (announce when disc golf parks are dry),
  • Twitter (used for major announcements, and then detail the event, i.e. Arts, Beats and Eats), and
  • Linkedin (free professional networking for RO businesses-DDA, etc.).

 Section 1: (LEFT SIDE)

Title: Royal Oak Economic Development News:

This section will be updated quarterly with economic development news and activity. We may communicate openings and opportunities, local business developments, City fiscal developments, and communicate resources.

i.e. Emagine. Kroger. 2011-2012 Budget, Arts, Beats and Eats, list new business occupants-success stories.

Section 2: (LEFT SIDE) 

Title: Economic Gardening

The City of Royal Oak is considering to hire an economic development specialist* in order to engage economic gardening. RO is (considering) bringing in a GIS intern** to regularly update this website. This specialist will consult with registered businesses and help them grow from 1st stage growth industries to 2nd stage growth industries. According to, second-stage companies are past the startup stage, but not mature. They have an owner/CEO, but not a full-scale professional management team. They approach $1 million in total receipts, but could expand to $50 million (2011). If you are a business in Royal Oak, and you would like to receive Economic Gardening services, please apply. Your application will (1) provide information to help determine the type of economic development specialist needed and (2) to measure the need for an economic gardening program:

Submit business information for economic gardening program. Submit form:

  1. business owner
  2. business name
  3. business location
  4. current business plan
  5. current business needs
  6. services requested

*In order to track, the City may need to hire a professional–link to criteria, application (recommend $$$/ year, 3 year contract). City costs: about $100,000 / year. See my evidence for this here (see article by Girdwood and Girdwood).

**Or, link to criteria, application for MPA/PhD interns (stipend of $5,000 for 5 month stint. Overlap interns for 1 month. City costs: about $15,000 / year.

Section 3:  (LEFT SIDE)

The Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority (DDA) 

List prominent commercial vacancies. List vacancies transitioning. List new Econ. Development in City (below).

Accelerate Connecting Businesses. Link to RO Entrepreneurial Foundation. RO Angels Group.

“Royal Oak would like to track your economic development (the DDA). If you are an entrepreneur or small business in Royal Oak, complete the form and we will keep a record of your progress. Our goal is to help you expand economic development opportunities.”

  1. business owner
  2. business name
  3. business location
  4. current business engagement
  5. current business total receipts
  6. number of employees
  7. number of people you expect to hire/fire this fiscal year

List economic development of the businesses that submit the former form.

Section 4: (LEFT SIDE): “Your Economic Development Story”

 Comment on how this website/City was of service for you—Your Story.

  1. name
  2. what links you use (drop down?)
  3. how those links were of use
  4. current economic development engagement

Pick up the phone and connect with the City’s business residents. Public relations. News. Blog it.

Will it be an interview that documents entrepreneurial and small business success in the city?

 Section 5: (RIGHT SIDE)

Title: Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Resources

We promote entrepreneurs and small businesses to increase best economic development practices. We recommend that local businesses subscribe to, or follow, important online economic development communication, such as:

         What You See                                                                    LINKS                      

  1. Staring a Business Resources:
  2. Michigan Economic Development Council:
  3. Grow Your Business:
  4. Business Start-up Resources:
  5. Small Business Resources:
  6. News and Ideas:
  7. Access to Capital:
  8. Community Development:
  9. Council for Arts and Culture:
  10. International Economic Development Council:
  11. Mentoring Program:
  12. Resource Center:
  13. IEDC Publications Center:
  14. IEDC Professional Development:
  15. IEDC Economic Development Links:
  16. Edward Lowe Foundation (ELF).
  17. ELF Entrepreneurship Support Organizations:
  18. ELF Your Economy
  19. ELF Economic Gardening:
  20. ELF News:
  21. Kauffman Foundation:
  22. Kauffman Entrepreneurship:
  23. Kauffman Innovation:
  24. Kauffman Education:
  25. Kauffman Research:
  26. Kauffman Entrepreneurial Data:
  27. National Association of Seed and Venture Funds.
  28. Angel Search:
  29. NASVF News:
  30. NASVF Blog:
  31. Angelsoft TechTown:
  32. Automation Ally:
  33. Angelsoft Wayne State University:
  34. Tech Transfer WSU:
  35. Tech Transfer Entrepreneurs:
  36. Start-up Resources:
  37. Funding Resources:
  38. Grant Funding:
  39. Wayne State and TechTown:
  40. TechTown Mentors:
  41. TechTown News:
  42. Randal’s Blog:
  43. TechTown Companies:
  44. Automation Ally:
  45. Auto Ally Entrepreneurs:
  46. Auto Ally News:
  47. Michigan Job Board:
  48. Auto Ally Networking:
  49. Macomb – Oakland University INCubator:
  50. OU Incubator Resources:
  51. OU News:
  52. Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center:
  53. Small Business Planning:
  54. FastTrac New Venture:
  55. Build Your Business Plan:
  56. Financing Options:
  57. Strategic Management Journal.
  58. SRF Foundation:
  59. SRF Publications:
  60. Forums:
  61. Small Business Administration:
  62. Office of Advocacy:
  63. Starting a Business:
  64. Loans and Grants:
  65. Contracting:
  66. Counseling and Training:
  67. U.S. Economic Development Administration:
  68. News:
  69. Program and Funding:
  70. Resources:
  71. Research Reports:

Bottom of Webpage, small print

 Website organized by John Girdwood, Wayne State University. He can be reached at john.girdwood @    Contact the Webmaster at superb city @ royal_oak…  Link back to RO Homepage. **Some of links will not be appropriate for non-Detroit area cities.

********Royal Oak City Manager should consider sending yearly Tracking Reports to John Girdwood for independent third party review as an open access resource—meaning, John Girdwood may use the results for research purposes. This collaboration would benefit all parties.


2 thoughts on “Municipal Government’s Economic Development Webpage

  1. Pingback: A Response to The Browser: Thanks. « Political Pipeline

  2. Pingback: Solutions for Declining Municipal Revenue « Political Pipeline

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