In 2018, Brownsville was the largest US city in the Rio Grande Valley and a rapidly growing, bi-national region with more than 2.5 million residents. The community was in the midst of an unprecedented convergence of major investment projects from both the private sector (such as SpaceX’s new Boca Chica launch site) and the public sector (the new terminal at Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport). Despite these investments, the City struggled with negative internal and external perceptions and the out-migration of residents. A unique opportunity existed to align the community’s asset base with the positive momentum of regional growth and investment to create sustained economic prosperity and establish Brownsville as a leading city regionally and globally.
To position the community for sustained growth, the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation (GBIC) hired TIP Strategies to lead a team in the creation of a new economic development strategic plan. The resulting plan included a set of goals and strategies designed to foster increased private-sector investment, business development, and job creation in Brownsville over the next five years. The TIP consulting team began with an assessment of Brownsville’s demographics, employment, commuting flows, target industries, and other qualitative and quantitative factors. The team also conducted a brand assessment, evaluating the current state of Brownsville’s marketing landscape and a competitive analysis of economic development marketing efforts in peer communities. Through this process, the team identified goals in five focus areas to guide the GBIC’s work: 1) workforce and talent; 2) target industry recruitment; 3) existing employers and entrepreneurship; 4) sites and infrastructure; and 5) marketing and image. Together, these goals provide a framework for strengthening the Brownsville economy and communicating the organization’s success to external stakeholders.