What can one economic development expert do in 365 days? For the City of Flint’s Economic Development Director Roderick Miller, the question represents an exciting opportunity.
For Miller, who developed a reputation as a turnaround expert with a passion for helping distressed communities, leading Flint’s redevelopment is a dream challenge.
His plan for restoring economic stability is simple: Develop and stay focused on a long-term, sustainable strategy.
“There are a lot of opportunities citywide,” says Miller, who was previously CEO of the Detroit Economic Development Corp. “We need to focus on the ones we can have the most impact on and, ideally, implement within the quickest time frame possible.”
“The revitalization, vitality and re-invigoration of neighborhoods is dependent on small businesses,” says Miller.
Although he is buoyed by the 15 business start-ups launched in Flint’s downtown business corridor in the past two years alone, and the more than 70 downtown business launches since 2008, he knows there is ample room for fostering more downtown and corner business growth.
His strategy for growth is to identify neighborhood business corridors with the potential to seed or cultivate three to five small businesses.
“If we can assemble and sustain the growth of a small group of anchor businesses for a period of at least three years, we can garner the interest of national retailers,” he says.
He also aims to foster additional development in Flint’s downtown business district.
A cost-conscious executive, Miller plans to assemble and deploy Flint’s small business class into an organic business attraction campaign that will showcase the energy of Flint’s enterprising entrepreneurs.
After all, he asks, who can sell Flint better than Flint?
Lead photo by Danen Williams