The City of Richmond lacked a prepared workforce and the capacity to build and sustain innovative industries. To better understand their challenges and the opportunities surrounding these issues, the City of Richmond engaged TIP Strategies (TIP) and Hill-Christian Consulting Group (HCCG) to prepare a comprehensive economic development strategy, or CEDS, for the community. The project involved a 12-month process incorporating input and ideas from key stakeholders throughout the city.
The final plan included an analysis of the local economy, an evaluation of development opportunities, specific development strategies and actions, and program evaluation measures. The Richmond City Council adopted the CEDS in November 2010. Specific recommendations included the expansion of City investments in, and promotion of, the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park; an increased focus on business retention and expansion efforts; and the adoption of new public financial tools to support existing and potential businesses. As an outcome of the planning process, the City of Richmond assisted in the development and establishment of a new business incubator and commercialization center. Other successes from the plan included creating a new revolving loan fund to attract and retain businesses and meeting more aggressive business visitation and job creation goals. TIP was re-engaged in 2019 to update the CEDS.