Sustained growth—The Ultimate Objective

Sustained growth is the ultimate objective of most for-profit companies, yet growth is surprisingly rare. Attracting and nurturing sustained growth companies should be a top priority of economic developers.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, in collaboration with the Department of Housing & Community Development, recently concluded a year-long study of over 613,000 business establishments that operated in Virginia during 2009-2014. The purpose of the review was to investigate both the drivers behind firm-level sustained growth and ways state and local economic developers can increase the number of these companies in their regions.

Just 1% of businesses added net new capacity over this five-year period, the rest shrank or stagnated. These sustained growth businesses were responsible for 61% of net new jobs in the state during this time period. This is just one of the important findings from the just released report that sheds new light on how businesses expand and what economic developers must do to support their growth.

Over 500 business owners and chief executive officers were surveyed as part of this project, and their input provided the basis for statistically valid conclusions. Among other findings, sustained growth firms are found in all regions of Virginia and all types of industries, are more aggressive with geographic expansion and exporting, share the profits of their growth with employees, and are more civic-minded than most other companies.

In the weeks to follow, VEDP will be sharing the lessons learned with Virginia’s economic development community and policy makers. In the meantime, we hope you will review the full - Virginia Sustained Growth Study.  Please contact Liz Povar at 804-545-5702 with any questions.