As the city’s economic development agency, Prosper Portland wants to ensure inclusive growth by supporting the competitive industries that provide high-quality job opportunities and working to fill those jobs with people of color and low-income residents.
An industry cluster is a group of geographically concentrated, inter-related firms. Companies that locate in a cluster benefit from a skilled labor force, increased innovation, coordinated advocacy efforts, high-quality supply chains, and knowledge spillover. Clusters interact in ways that establish competitive advantages through the creation and incorporation of new knowledge into products and the processes that produce them. Prosper Portland understands the importance of building strong clusters, and that’s why we support initiatives that strengthen cooperation and competitive advantages for Portland companies.
Mara Zepeda, Co-Founder and CEO, Switchboard
Making our industries and economy more inclusive is vital to the long-term economic success of Portland companies and communities. The technology sector is a key example. National job vacancies in software and technology jobs are estimated to grow to 1.4 million by 2020 if the industry continues to hire only from a narrow portion of the workforce. To have a competitive current and future workforce, the sector must address disparities in education, wealth, income and employment and reflect global diversity.
If blacks, Hispanics and other minorities had the same income distribution as whites, the nation’s GDP would have been 14 percent greater in 2012 – $2.1 trillion. Fostering a more equitable Portland will attract an increasingly diverse workforce who will see the city as a place where they can succeed.
By focusing on clusters we can:
Deploy limited resources in a strategic and catalytic fashion.
Develop a deep understanding of factors influencing competitiveness.
Interact with groups of firms rather than conduct isolated transactions.
Facilitate industry-led innovation and interventions.
Foster the alignment of resources among regional and state partners.
Objectives for organizing Portland clusters:
Convene critical players in cluster eco-system.
Develop detailed market analyses for each cluster defining actual market opportunities.
Develop and implement industry-driven action plans
Create self-sustaining momentum within clusters
Prosper Portland focuses staff and resources on the following industry clusters: