Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s Next Iteration
The five strategies that can make Greater Miami’s economy more inclusive, competitive, and sustainable.
Hear CEO Rodrick’s Miller’s plans for Beacon Council and how Miami’s economy can compete in a changing environment in this video.
Economic development organizations have come in many shapes and sizes. From the Tennessee Valley Authority started in the 1930s, to New York City’s Public Development Corporation in the 1960s, later to become part of today’s New York City Economic Development Corporation, to the Miami-Dade Beacon Council that serves Greater Miami and was launched in 1985.
EDOs - the short-hand for economic development organizations - have been started at federal, state, and local government levels for reasons ranging from grappling with crises like the Great Depression, racial segregation, and urban decline to diversifying economies and creating more high-wage jobs. The tools and approaches have varied widely, from tax incentives and marketing campaigns to workforce initiatives and policy advocacy, among countless strategies.
But two things have generally proven true for good economic development organizations: the goal of driving broad economic prosperity and an ability to change. After all, as communities and economies change, if EDOs are to stay relevant and deliver impact they must change as well.
It’s with that in mind that the Miami-Dade Beacon Council - a public-private partnership that is the official economic development organization for Miami-Dade County - announced a new strategic plan.
For our latest Opportunity Miami Interview, we sat down with Beacon Council CEO, Rodrick Miller, to discuss the plan, the moment Greater Miami is in, and the role of economic development organizations in a changing world. You can watch the Interview here.
To a reader of the Opportunity Miami newsletter, it’s worth briefly clarifying Opportunity Miami’s role at The Beacon Council. Opportunity Miami, as the successor to One Community One Goal, is the future-focused arm of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. It’s a platform focused on imagining our long-term future - the Miami of 2040 - and helping our community build it.
But economic development organizations like The Beacon Council need to be focused on both the present and future and go about that work in a number of ways. In our conversation, Miller laid out five key priority areas for the next iteration of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council in helping build a more inclusive, sustainable and competitive Miami
One, to help grow the economy through business attraction and retention of high-value jobs. Two, champion Miami through marketing campaigns and outreach across the country. Three, investing in people to cultivate talent by supporting workforce initiatives and other efforts. Four, shaping the future through Opportunity Miami and building a robust research capability. And, five, to closely track progress.
“The way we deliver value now has to be different,” said Miller, who previously led economic development organizations in places including Puerto Rico, Detroit and New Orleans.
Looking ahead, he said, the moment presents three important opportunities. One is climate action. Namely, seeing the decarbonization of our economy as a generational business opportunity. Two, that Beacon Council - an organization nearly forty years old - shifts and grows to provide impact in ways that are felt by the business executive, small business owner, and people across the community. Three, being people-centered.
“People think that economies are all about companies and dollars and cents,” said Miller. “But at the end of the day, it’s about people being able to afford a quality of life and being able to have some dignity and self-respect.”
Beacon Council is embarking on this next chapter at a time when the world of economic development writ large has shifted and includes many more organizations. Accelerators, incubators, mentor networks, boot camps, and angel investor groups, among others, now dot the landscape. Many communities, including Miami, now put a big emphasis on helping start and propel early-stage companies by building entrepreneurial ecosystems, just as it works to recruit and help existing businesses expand.
This has presented a challenge for traditional economic development organizations like Beacon Council to define its role and to be clear on the ways it aims to deliver impact.
“When I started in this field twenty years ago there was a very simple understanding of economic development generally,” Rod said. “We were pejoratively called ‘smoke stack chasers.’ It was all about the attraction of companies. While that continues to be an important part of the work, it’s not enough.”
As the future-focused arm of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Opportunity Miami is a platform for people passionate about where Miami goes next. As always, we would love to hear from you.
If you have a company or entrepreneur to suggest or an idea to share that relates to building Miami’s future, email us at email@example.com. We invite you to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch our Interview and On Site video series featuring leaders shaping Miami's future. Please also follow us on our social media channels. If you were forwarded this newsletter, you can subscribe by clicking here. And if you are new to Opportunity Miami, you can learn about our mission and work here.