Idaho launches new economic growth initiative

Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter launched a three-point strategy on Thursday aiming to foster economic growth by engaging local communities and private industry.

The state’s gross domestic project (GDP) was $51.5 billion a year when Otter took office in 2007. Otter introduced Project 60 in 2009, an initiative to grow Idaho’s GDP to at least $60 billion annually.

With the state’s GDP projected to reach $62 billion in 2014, Otter launched the new Accelerate Idaho initiative to build on that success.

“Almost five years ago, we established a specific benchmark for creating jobs and growing the state’s economy, and I’m thrilled that we’ve achieved that goal despite weathering some of the toughest economic times in memory,” Otter said. “Across the nation, people are looking to Idaho as a state that’s focused on meeting the needs of business. Accelerate Idaho is our strategy for ensuring that Idaho is the right place for employers looking to expand or relocate. The goal is more career opportunities for Idahoans.”

Accelerate Idaho will focus on building a high-skilled workforce; elevating existing industries through business opportunities, as well as research and development; and strengthening communities through infrastructure development and regional collaboration.

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeffrey Sayer and other state agency partners will implement various tactics to push Accelerate Idaho’s three focal points forward.

Accelerate Idaho will establish a Rapid Response Team, a one-stop shop that represents nine state agencies involved in business expansion. The Rapid Response Team is meant to respond to business needs quickly and streamline customer service.

The governor’s new economic initiative will also establish a secure online platform called “bluebird” that allows entrepreneurs, businesses and investors to remotely access economic development materials. The new application is designed to promote the sharing of information about incentives, grants, business cost comparisons and more with industry professionals.