New Cornerstone: Foundations for Florida’s 21st Century Economy

Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation


Develop a 10-year blueprint for public and private-sector actions to ensure Florida’s competitiveness in the global economy of the 21st century.

Project Overview

Cambridge Systematics led a team to assess the State of Florida’s economic performance over the past decade, evaluate the success of the recommendations identified in the original Cornerstone study in 1989, and develop a vision for Florida’s economy over the next 10 years. This work included analyzing industry cluster trends, examining the utility of public and private efforts to promote economic development, and comparing labor force, infrastructure, regulatory environment, and other business climate characteristics to competitor states.

Our Approach

  • Assess Florida’s economic performance during the past decade, and the effectiveness of prior statewide and regional economic development programs
  • Benchmark Florida’s performance to competitor states and establish targets to be achieved on key performance measures by 2010
  • Obtain stakeholder input through more than 30 focus groups and workshops involving economic development professionals, business leaders, and elected officials
  • Recommend strategies to help Florida achieve a 10-year vision of global leadership in key industries, prosperous workers and families, and vibrant communities
  • Build consensus around these strategies through regional economic development summits and coordination with state agencies and associations

Project Results

The study recommends that Florida focus its future economic competitiveness efforts in four areas: trade, tourism, technology, and talent. Recommendations are being developed in five key areas: incubating, growing, and sustaining Florida’s emerging businesses and entrepreneurs; growing Florida’s role as a crossroads economy for goods, services, investment, visitors, and information; preparing Florida’s workforce for the 21st century economy; developing “creative communities” that attract innovative and knowledge workers and balance Florida’s economic growth with a high quality of life; and strategies to ensure that Florida’s rural areas and inner cities share in the next wave of economic growth. The Florida Chamber Foundation and its partners are working toward implementation of this blueprint, with emphasis on long-term investment strategies; necessary legislative changes; and support for regional collaboration, including creation of the Florida Regional Stewardship Alliance, a statewide coalition of regional leadership initiatives. The majority of New Cornerstone’s recommendations were incorporated into Florida’s Strategic Plan for Economic Development and into a major update of the state’s economic development toolkit in 2006.  The Foundation is now monitoring progress on key measures of Florida’s competitiveness.  Cambridge Systematics is preparing an annual report on New Cornerstone Implementation, which will be released in June 2007.

Download a copy of the New Cornerstone Report