Opinion: We need the will to win in the new economy

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Written by Chad Summe

Just a few months ago, Cincinnati baseball fans were eyeing the upcoming season with a sense of resignation. It will be a rebuilding year, we thought, one of several to come until our young, middle-market team gains Major League experience and becomes competitive.

It’s been a wild ride of a season, but the Reds are in the hunt for a playoff spot after a historic win streak by a team that plays an exciting brand of baseball energized by one of the most talented players in the league. No matter how the season shakes out, the town is buzzing about the Reds again.

It’s amazing how winning can transform an entire community.

Cincinnati is on a winning streak. A couple years ago, who’d have thought the Bengals were a Super Bowl caliber team? Yet there they were in February 2022 on the national stage taking on Los Angeles in the Rams’ home stadium, the underdogs giving the West Coast team a run for their money. And it was no fluke, as the team proved last year with another run deep into the playoffs.

Our city’s third major league team, FC Cincinnati, has its own improbable winning run going. The soccer club, only in its fifth season as a Major League Soccer team, is one of the fastest teams in MLS history to tally such a winning record.    

Cincinnati is a major league city, a town with a proud and storied history in sport, and one that, as we’ve seen, has the will to win on the playing fields. I wonder: Do we have the will to win where it really counts – in today’s competitive economy?

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The nation is in transition. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a long-term revolution is underway in manufacturing, supply chain capabilities, transportation, finance, and more. In one area alone — digital commerce — the market is forecast by investment bank Morgan Stanley to grow from $3.3 trillion today to $5.4 trillion in just three short years.

In this new economic landscape, do we have the will to win that our major-league teams have demonstrated? Do we have the confidence to take the risks needed to go beyond the status quo and excel in this global competitive arena?

At stake is the future of our region.

Like the Reds, Bengals, and FC Cincinnati, we already have the building blocks in place. We have a diverse economy with major corporate players, as well as innovative startups from manufacturing to marketing, to finance and logistics. We have excellent universities, community colleges and technical schools. A well-connected, reliable transportation network, and a ready workforce. 

Major players such as Amazon and DHL have seen these assets, conducted their own research, done the math, and decided to locate or expand here.  Now, we need to add the variables to this equation, catalysts to multiply growth and advance the technologies that are driving the economic transformation.

High-growth companies need capital to keep growing. Although there’s been progress, investment capital remains concentrated on the coasts, according to a recent analysis.

To win in this new major-league contest, our region needs a coordinated strategy to attract and deploy capital here. It will require a step increase in capital investment in growth in this region to take advantage of this generational opportunity. With a mindset of growth and the will to win, we can succeed in this new era of opportunity.

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Chad Summe is the founder and managing partner of Covington-based eGateway Capital.  

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