Size Does Count

A Kauffman Foundation report offers some interesting insight into the job market:

“If one excludes startups, an analysis of the 2007 Census data shows that young firms (defined as one to five years old) still account for roughly two-thirds of job creation, averaging nearly four new jobs per firm per year. Of the overall 12 million new jobs added in 2007, young firms were responsible for the creation of nearly 8 million of those jobs.”

They found this trend in the Columbia, MO job market as well. The last five years have seen:

  • 20% increase in public sector jobs.
  • 22% decrease in jobs created by out-of-state companies
  • 22% in jobs created by small firms (1-9 employees)
  • 7% increase in jobs created by mid-sized firms (10-100 employees)
  • 22% decrease in jobs created by large firms (100+ employees)
It’s clear the old paradigm for Columbia no longer holds.  We can no longer rely on Quaker, 3M or State Farm to locate a manufacturing plant or a regional headquarters in our city.  Instead, we need to focus on home-grown businesses–young, creative and forward-thinking entrepreneurs who like the Columbia lifestyle and want to plant their business here.
In addition, my experience is that most of these small start-ups are creative companies–marketing agencies, architectural firms, filmmakers and video production, and so forth.  Because of their smaller size, they’re nimble, innovative and quick to jump at an opportunity.  I see these businesses set up shop in small, one or two room offices only to quickly outgrow their space.  In fact, our biggest challenge now is to find larger space for these companies so we can keep them in our downtown. These companies are our future and we need to nurture them so they’ll grow.