Cost Advantages Bolster Economy in the Roanoke Region of Virginia

We crunched the numbers on recently published findings, and they tell a story that we here in the region already know – when it comes to the cost of doing business and the cost of living, the Roanoke Region offers serious advantages. Moody’s recently released data on the cost of doing business indicating Roanoke sits 18% lower than the national average.

This index incorporates costs including workforce, energy, taxes, and real estate to arrive at a national comparison. These cost advantages are fueling the region’s competitiveness and increasing economic growth projections.

Cost of living adds depth to this story as a complex mix of metrics that showcase the overall affordability of a region in a multi-faceted world. Numbers released by the Council for Community and Economic Research ranked the Roanoke metro area as the 57th lowest-cost metro in the nation with costs lower than 78% of participating metros, and 11% less than the national average.

Cost of Living Overall Third Quarter 2021
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Thrive 2027 Update: Partnership Mission Focuses on Four Priority Areas

The Roanoke Regional Partnership commissioned Ernst & Young Economic Development Advisory Services on a strategic planning process that will direct the organization’s body of work through 2027. The consultant team and Partnership staff have conducted a public survey, engaged stakeholders in interviews and focus groups, and launched a detailed competitive assessment of the regional market and its opportunities. Four major priority areas have emerged during this process.

Four major priority areas that emerged during the Thrive 2027 strategic planning process.

The Partnership plans to roll out the five-year strategy at an investor update meeting to be scheduled in August 2021. 

The information below outlines the goals within each priority area. The consultant team is currently formulating an implementation plan which will focus on measurable outcomes and tactics to support each of the four priority areas.

ECONOMIC GROWTH AND INNOVATION

Goal 1: Grow the Roanoke regional economy by amplifying business recruitment and expansion efforts, strengthening technology and innovation, and generating more high-paying jobs.

1.1 Elevate business recruitment, expansion and retention activities.

Enhance business investment cultivation through strengthened partnerships, increased marketing and media relations, and a coordinated business retention and expansion initiative.

1.2 Boost the region’s reputation as a technology and innovation hub.

Create a compelling narrative and communications strategy with input from education leaders and researchers, business executives and entrepreneurs, and public sector leaders.
1.3 Contribute to the success and retention of entrepreneurial companies.

Support start-ups and high-growth firms with relevant market intelligence, business-to-business introductions, site availability insights, and more.

TALENT ATTRACTION AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Goal 2: Expand efforts to attract and retain in-demand talent.

2.1 Lead talent attraction marketing efforts for a young, diverse and skilled workforce.

Leverage the Partnership’s marketing expertise and established image in outdoor recreation in a larger program promoting the region’s livability and career opportunities to out-of-market talent.

2.2 Collaborate with education and workforce development partners to better align talent programs with employer needs.

Serve as a strategic partner and connector to help businesses engage more seamlessly with education and training initiatives.

2.3 Foster opportunities for greater diversity in the region’s workforce and leadership.

Ensure diversity is reflected in communications and all efforts of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. Identify ways to foster growth of diverse leadership.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Goal 3: Advocate for the acceleration of commercial and industrial real estate development and support advocacy for infrastructure improvement and funding.

3.1 Expand and strengthen the role of the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority as the authoritative resource on real estate supply, trends, needs, and potential.

Be the voice in proactively identifying and addressing needs for business in commercial real estate and work to develop an inventory necessary for economic development.

3.2 Serve as a thought leader on issues and infrastructure affecting economic competitiveness.

Provide data and information to shed light on needs in areas such as transportation, broadband, workforce, and other infrastructure.

PLACE MAKING AND LIVABILITY

Goal 4: Reinforce the region’s identity and competitive advantage as an outdoor destination, while highlighting other prominent lifestyle features and amenities, and supporting quality-of-life efforts.

4.1 Build on the success of Roanoke Outside with continued marketing and the development of sustainable funding for outdoors preservation and enhancement.

Sustain the region’s outdoors brand for business recruitment and talent attraction.

4.2 Continue to build the Get2KnowNoke brand to promote the diverse character and amenities of the region to appeal to a wider audience.

Amp up the Partnership’s livability story to include a message that appeals to a wider audience while maintaining the central core of outdoor lifestyle.

4.3 Monitor emerging quality of life concerns and serve as a regional thought leader in regards to placemaking and quality of life.

Utilize the Partnership’s research and data analytics capability to track and report on issues that can have an adverse impact on economic competitiveness and livability. The research can help inform efforts to mitigate problems, such as housing availability and affordability, and access to quality childcare, while expanding the Partnership’s reach in the broader community.

Questions? Email John Hull, Executive Director