By Phillip Ramati
To combat the economic decline in the midstate during the past few years, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is hoping to jump-start economic growth in the region.
In this case, the foundation has enlisted the aid of JumpStart America to come up with a master plan that will stimulate growth in Bibb, Baldwin, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and Twiggs counties by encouraging entrepreneurship and working with area colleges and universities to retain their best and brightest after graduation.
Beverly Blake, program director for the Knight Foundation in Georgia, said the foundation wrote a small grant to bring in JumpStart, which has boosted growth to economically depressed parts of Ohio for nearly a decade by taking a regional approach rather than working on a city-by-city basis.
The plan is an outgrowth of Knight’s College Hill 2.0 plan that has accomplished some of the same goals in the College Hill Corridor in Macon -- making the area attractive to entrepreneurs. Blake compared the goals of the plan to the Research Triangle in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
“(JumpStart) wants to take advantage of the strengths we have,” she said. “They’re all about harnessing that energy and goodwill.”
Officials from JumpStart spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday traveling through all eight counties and meeting with all the stakeholders necessary to ensure the project’s success -- government leaders, the business community and economic development organizations.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.