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Achieving an equitable innovation economy

January 04, 2018

A range of equity-based strategies to support scale-up programming for small-scale manufacturers are among the findings of a recent report from the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA). In Making, Scaling and Inclusion, UMA found that the economic development field is hungry for strategies that remove employment barriers and build the talent of low-income and economically disadvantaged communities to drive economic growth in their cities and the report offers guidance for building equitable innovation economies.

UMA, along with the Pratt Center for Community Development and PolicyLink, launched the Equitable Innovation Economies Initiative in 2015 and piloted a program in four cities to address equity issues more broadly. And while their four pilot cities had seen success, they also faced challenges limiting their ability to replicate and reach scale. Such challenges included a lack of a directive to formalize equity and inclusion, and sparse data on the economic impact of the shifting manufacturing sector.

In order to bring equity strategies from prototype to scale, the report makes several suggestions:

  • Name the equity goals in urban manufacturing and gather the data;
  • Expand networks;
  • Increase access to capital;
  • Develop new models of cross-sector partnerships; and,
  • Strengthen advocacy to take on the bold issues of our time.
innovation, economic development, manufacturing