I was at a conference yesterday in the nearby town of Nowra.
It was put on by and for local business people. As the
organizer, Linda, said to me, its the kind of event that when times are tough, small business people should participate in and attend.
I talked about disruptive technologies and how they could change for the better and for the worse those people and businesses – that either embraced them or ignored them…
One of the questions to the panel from a local lawyer who is a mover and a shaker in the town was what of these new technologies could help generate interest from the 25-39 year olds to visit and to move in to the town. (f you don’t know Nowra you might want to know that this is a town that has been hollowed out economically for a long time. But it has a naval base, part of the UOW campus, and a substantial amount of light industry in it). So you would have to think that with these ingredients there would be the basis for real economic growth.
My immediate suggestion was for the town to install free wi-fi. A bit lateral perhaps and as it happens this is about to happen!I figure that with free wi-fi you have a platform for local business to advertise to people who log on, you get to capture a whole lot of information about customers, and you create a reason for people to spend time in the town centre too. While they are walking around they are going to start shopping.
My second suggestion was that they need to create a new industrial hub in the town and it has to be one that is “smart”. My suggestion is that the town should create an incentive for a technology business in the health sector to come to town. The incentive could be a long peppercorn rent on industrial premises for instance. A company that requires highly skilled workers who have degrees brings in people who want good schools, good services, good shopping and products, and have disposable income. It will help change every sector of the local economy as well as requiring unskilled labour for the basics. The more highly skilled jobs you create in a town the more you drive all sectors of the economy.
But it does need incentive and that means that the local council will have to understand that a commitment is required.