Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Opportunity Austin: How a relatively quiet effort supercharges a regional economy

By Daniel Salazar

One of the region's most influential economic development programs is well into its second decade, though it isn't a household name. Despite the roaring economy — or perhaps because of it — its leaders say there are no plans to slow down.

Opportunity Austin is a five-county economic development initiative by the Austin Chamber of Commerce known well to local business insiders, but doesn't have much of a public profile. The behind-the-scenes effort entails hundreds of investors contributing millions of dollars every five years. Their money and attention is focused broadly to just about every nook and cranny of the city. Sure, there is old-fashioned corporate retention and job-creation strategies, but school children, poor residents and even roads, buses and trains get attention because all affect the region's economic success.

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