Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter officially launched his "Accelerate Idaho" initiative today, announcing how the State will engage local communities and private industry in helping to make Idaho a national and global leader in economic growth and prosperity.
Accelerate Idaho is the next step for Idaho's economy on the heels of achieving the goal of Project 60. Established in 2009 -- in the midst of the Great Recession -- Project 60 was aimed at growing Idaho's gross domestic product from $51.5 billion a year when Governor Otter took office in 2007 to at least $60 billion. As of the fourth quarter of 2013, Idaho's total economic activity achieved the $60 billion-a-year pace and is forecasted to reach $62 billion in 2014.
"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," Governor 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 is a three-point strategy focused on elevating the state's foundation for growth by:
Advancing Individuals -- engineering talent pipelines, cultivating K-though-Career, and expanding high quality jobs;
Elevating Industry -- energizing existing industries, empowering business opportunities, and invigorating innovation and research; and
Strengthening Communities -- inspiring community vitality, developing infrastructure solutions, galvanizing regional collaboration.
Under the leadership of Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeffery Sayer and other State agency partners, each Accelerate Idaho strategy is complemented by series of specific tactics designed to propel each area forward simultaneously.
Accelerate Idaho also includes several new tools, including the Governor's Rapid Response Team that is a "one-stop shop" representing nine State agencies that are often directly involved in business expansion projects. One of Idaho's greatest assets is its ability to remove red tape and "move at the speed of business," and the Rapid Response Team is intended to accelerate customer service through a formalized partnership that responds to business needs quickly and efficiently.
Another important tool that is part of Accelerate Idaho is "bluebird," a new application designed for site selectors, commercial realtors, and economic development professionals that facilitates streamlined sharing of information about Idaho's incentives, grants, business cost comparisons, and more. With bluebird, businesses, entrepreneurs and investors can access a secure Web platform containing a library of economic development materials to aid in site selection decisions.