With New P3, Delaware Partially Privatizes Economic Development

August 16, 2017

Delaware's economic development efforts are about to undergo a major transformation.

Gov. John Carney signed a bill Monday that replaces the Delaware Economic Development Office with a public-private partnership partially run by some of the state's largest companies.

"This is a starting point," Carney said. "The hard work starts now and that's working together in partnership ... to market our state more aggressively and think out of the box about how to develop our entrepreneurial economy."

Tentatively called the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, the new nonprofit will be responsible for recruiting new employers to the state, supporting the state's nascent startup community and investing in workforce development programs.

That includes vetting and endorsing companies seeking state taxpayer grants and loans.

DEDO, the Cabinet-level agency that previously handled most of those functions, was dissolved last month.

About 40 former DEDO staffers have been folded into a new agency in the Delaware Department of State named the Division of Small Business Development and Tourism. Nearly half of those positions are expected to be cut by the end of the year.

State officials have said savings from those job cuts will free up $2 million a year that will be redirected to the partnership's operating budget, with another $1 million a year supplied by the business community.

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