Cities across the nation are faced with a crucible. Slammed by economic recession and COVID-19, their economic losses in tax revenue, employment and municipal bond ratings have been staggering. Add to that increasing civil unrest, racial tensions and a spike in urban crime and one can clearly understand why many city dwellers and businesses that can are moving to the suburbs and exurbs.
So how can cities protect and fortify their economic base while providing growth opportunities for those who live and work in their communities? Not by attracting large global companies (although Amazon did try in New York), due to the high cost of real estate in particular; not through start-ups, most of which fail and generate few jobs and tax revenue; and not via federal, state and local government largesse that was shrinking even prior to the pandemic. It is small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) – especially those