News from Patrick Flynn

Another way to build jobs

In Alaska discussions about economic development almost always revolve around natural resources – oil & gas, timber, mining, tourism, fishing and the like.  As someone who grew up as our state transformed from among the poorest to among the richest in the United States I can certainly understand why.  After all, if something has worked for more than 30 years and provided tremendous benefits to our state why change course?

At the same time, some of my market development-oriented friends wonder if the richness of Alaska’s resources has somehow stunted the diversity of our economic growth.  Put another way, has the “easy money” of resource development prevented us from achieving other types of economic development?  A perhaps crude analogy would be children born into wealthy families who grow used to having their needs met without developing a commensurate work ethic – i.e. too spoiled for their own good.

From time to time I’ve half-jokingly suggested that one way to develop Alaska’s economy would be to walk I-5 in major west coast cities during rush hour (often a very plausible prospect) and hand out cards asking professionals whether their lifestyle is truly what they’re seeking.  We know ours is pretty darn good, and lots of jobs can be performed remotely so why not have those jobs and the economic benefits derived therefrom right here in the Great Land?  But there’s probably a better way, and the good news is that someone already thought of it.

Instead of importing talent and jobs from Outside, The Entrepreneurs and Mentors Network is working to grow business development right here at home.  By identifying those with good ideas and connecting them with others who can help refine the ideas (and provide start-up capital) TEAM hopes to build an entrepreneurial culture in Alaska that pays dividends long into the future.  It’s a great vision and, if it’s one you share, I encourage you to learn more.  Maybe you’ll even start a business!



This contribution was made on Sunday, 28. March 2010 at 09:16 and was published under the category Other. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Greetings Patrick,
    Thank you for your kind words about TEAM Network Inc. . Your recognition and support is very much appreciated. You and your readers are welcome to join our LinkedIn virtual Alaska incubator if you would like to see one of our innovation and entrepreneurship support initiatives in action.

    Allan R Johnston
    Chief Encouragement Officer
    TEAM Network Inv

    Comment: Allan Johnston – 28. March 2010 @ 9:56 am

  2. The reason discussion about the economic future of Alaska “almost always revolves around natural resources” is because this is the most resource-rich state in the United States. Our resources are valuable and are needed for the good of people throughout our country. However, because our population is disproportionate to the huge land mass we encompass our ability to become a manufacturing and production center is limited. Some would suggest that our resources are more valuable when shipped to population centers where value-added production is more economical.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with “importing talent and jobs from Outside.” Many Alaskans came from other places and have much to contribute toward the diversity and quality of life many of us who have lived here a long time enjoy. Other organizations like “Commonwealth North” and the University of Alaska have long worked to identify ideas and possibilities for enhancing Alaska innovation. Any new means for promoting development of Alaska resources in ways that bring more value to people living in Alaska should be welcome.

    On the other hand, the Alaska Permanent Dividend has perhaps been the most successful program we have for attracting people to Alaska in spite of the efforts of environmentalist organizations to try and turn Alaska into one big national park. Perhaps that will change now that Sarah Palin will be hosting a reality show about Alaska and our potential as a resource warehouse for America.

    Comment: Anonymous – 28. March 2010 @ 7:21 pm

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