Cincinnati breaking into 'new economy'

Trying to get on the fast track of the "new economy," a team of Cincinnati business and nonprofit leaders, educators and city council members is trying to promote greater high-tech growth and more digital government.

To top off a 10-week brainstorming project called Fast Break into the New Economy, the 16-member group plans to hold an interactive digital public hearing in a live Webcast, 4 p.m. Wednesday at www.cincinnatifastbreak.com.

"We applied the principles of the new economy — where speed is king — and wanted to infuse that sense of urgency into the city of Cincinnati," said Johnathan Holifield, a project member and the vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Although the city, with a population of 1.2 million in the metro area, has a Silicon Valley of sorts called the Digital Rhine, Holifield said the city has to foster more growth through promotion and develop a high-tech workforce from within.

In the short term, he said, the city could streamline its permit process to encourage greater growth of technology companies. In the long term, he said, the city should develop a workforce through its public and technical schools and universities. Holifield also said city government needs to develop more electronic services to interact more efficiently with constituents. "Some basic services are online, but it's nowhere near where it wants to be," he said.

The group plans to unveil a final report before the first week of November.

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