We created modern society by forging American innovation.
It should not be forgotten by anyone—including ourselves.
Without a focused, loud and efficient megaphone, the signals turn to noise.
RustBuilt exists to unify the valuable, yet small signals into one powerful voice.
Innovation is the engine of sustainable job creation and the driver of solutions (both technological and social) that can lead to a better life for everyone.
Increasingly, cities of the Mid-Atlantic are positioning themselves as the “next” marketplaces for innovation and commerce. They are offering the possibility of cost-efficient innovation with the same quality levels as the benchmarks at far less cost. Pittsburgh is one of them. Cleveland is one of them. Detroit is one of them. And the list goes on. All over the Rust Belt, we are vying for the Mid-Atlantic leadership position in innovation.
As the competition grows, the region needs to take a step back, see the similarities, and band together with a unique and productive offering that competes on the same level as other major innovation regions. We need to rally around the founding beliefs of the region (hard work, creativity and perserverence) and work together with the understanding that a rising tide lifts all boats. We need to celebrate our wins collectively and use this collective success to create audience on a much larger stage. RustBuilt exists to be that single signal.
NEW GOALS FOR THE REGION
The modern innovation marketplace of the Mid-Atlantic region is still young—but it is born of the road tested, hardworking, experienced history of the industrial revolution. In aggregate, with its physical product and hard goods roots, the old line institutional capital of the region has not fully embraced the investment approaches of other markets or developed an appetite for technology risk—we need to change that.
We need to update the traditional mindsets that made the region thrive for generations. We need to compel the communities who have prospered to continue to reinvest in the communities that raised them. And we need to create a region powerful enough to to act as a magnet and reclaim the ex-pats who have moved elsewhere in search of the culture we are set to reinvigorate.
For the Mid-Atlantic to grow as a recognized innovation marketplace, the community of the Rust Belt must organize around and formalize the following core concepts:
- A larger regional footprint
Simply put, we are already innovating and making market leading advances in everything from automotive to healthcare to robotics to ecommerce. We are doing it in Buffalo, Cincinnati, Morgantown and Pittsburgh. We are sharing our wins and doing all we can from our individual communities, but we need to start talking as one group with one voice about the power of our region (from both the investment and ideas perspective.)
- A more progressive regional point of view on entrepreneurialism
We do things differently over here. We always have. We are lean by nature and we have insights into categories others don't. We need to refine, document and consistently communicate the innovation strategies of the region and communicate that to the entrepreneurs so they know the best pathways to be successful here—and stay here.
- Common understanding of our strengths as a region
We have significant advantages. Our cost of living is lower than other innovation markets. Our schools are exceptional. Our experience and history with innovation is unmatched. We need to celebrate those qualities to help investors and entrepreneurs better understand why the mid-atlantic is a great place to grow the new economy.
- Regional economic development through innovation
We understand that innovation is the path to a bright future and we need to own our slice of that pie—for the good of all of us. To do that, we need to take action. We need to create new investment opportunities and unlock capital for entrepreneurs and need to support more programs that focus the innovation cycles to a constructive outcome in the right market windows.
We have always been and remain the captains of industry. We create things—from steel to machines to technologies to jobs. We built communities and the promise of a better future for families to grow. Our spirit is still alive and we are still innovating. We just need to get organized and stand and be counted. Are you RustBuilt?