Considering Whether Business Is the ContextNovember 11th, 2008 by Steven Gardner
Carrying on from the previous post about the clean-tech conference in California, I have looked a little more into these types of events and it is true that they are frequent. Perhaps they are as the author of this piece in Grist characterized it, “a dime a dozen these days.”
He was referring to the Renewable Energy Finance Forum West that took place in the last week in October in Seattle.
As RV mentioned in the previous post, the Puget Sound Business Journal will host the Green Business Summit on Nov. 12. The agenda looks to me to be about businesses implementing green strategies.
My interest in the Bay Area clean-tech event was that it was about the money. While the port can lay the table and market the site, it will be private investors, most likely, that would make a site like Kitsap SEED successful or prove that it’s not a good fit for the area. And those private investors, whose primary interest still appears to be about return, are taking an enthusiastic look at clean technology.
This actually has application in how we cover the port. When I was hired in Vancouver I was assigned as part of my beat the Port of Vancouver. I was a business reporter. Looking back, that’s a statement by the paper that it places higher deference to the port’s role in driving economic development than its role as a government body. Traditionally we have assigned Port of Bremerton coverage based on who had the city of Bremerton as a beat. That changed when my role changed, because Andy Binion was also covering cops in addition to his Bremerton coverage. In this job, I’m more a government guy.
That isn’t to say we don’t recognize the port’s role in economic development. What we’re considering, however, is following the model Vancouver set in assigning a business reporter to the topic instead of a government reporter. Education reporters cover school boards. Environmental reporters can go to any of the local governments when the issue is land use.
The port in the middle of government wrangling right now when it comes to SEED. But the economic development question is what provides the context behind whatever answer the elected port commissioners choose. Should the port continue to be my beat, that’s something I will work to make clear. Should it end up going to a business reporter, that’s a new angle to start from.
This is why Kitsap SEED has never been an “If you build it, he will come” scenario. The Berk study indicates it’s more like like, “If you build it and champion it, they might come.” What business venture isn’t like that?