Data-Driving Economic Development
Louisville has lots of data — data that could help leaders make decisions, draw new businesses and supercharge the local economy.
But where to put all of that data? And how to make sense of it? To solve this problem, Louisville Metro Government enlisted the University of Louisville’s College of Business.
Students in the MBA program worked with Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development engine, to develop a system that would store the data and allow for easy access and analysis.
“In order for us to really undertake that analysis, we need a place to put it,” said economic development director, Scott Herrmann.
Having the data centrally located will help his office identify trends and correlations, such as whether average incomes are going up or down, and how that compares to employment.
“Data is king,” said Tony Dougherty, an MBA student who worked on the project. “With economic development especially, you need data just to understand what’s going on, and you can use that and turn it into information to hopefully move your business forward.”
Herrman said the students were smart, driven and thorough. They were responsive to the challenges Louisville Forward was facing, and found solutions.
“It was a wonderful experience,” he said. “And really, we couldn’t be happier with the product that they ended up delivering to us.”
And by working on a real-world project, Dougherty said the students gained hands-on experience that will benefit both their education and future careers.
“Working with Louisville Forward has been really good for me,” he said. “It’s been great to put that academic knowledge we’ve gotten over the past two years from my MBA, and just put it in industry and get a chance to see how the real world works outside of a classroom.”