DBRT: Setting the First State on a Path to Growth

Delaware Business Roundtable

Setting the First State on a Path to Growth

The Delaware Business Roundtable is a coalition of approximately 60 CEOs and other leaders representing the state’s largest businesses.

Members include executives from many Delaware companies including AAA Mid-Atlantic, Bayhealth, Capital One 360, Delmarva, Verizon, WSFS, JPMorgan Chase, Christiana Care and DuPont. Collectively, the member businesses employ more than 75,000 people in Delaware.

“We’re engaged in putting Delaware back on a path to economic growth,” says Executive Director Bob Perkins.  Just over a year ago, the Roundtable developed a Growth Agenda that outlines three overarching goals for the state:

1. Create and nurture an entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem
2. Create a new approach to economic development via a public-private partnership
3. Improve the state’s overall business climate.

The agenda resulted from a study — commissioned by the Roundtable and published in 2015 — which showed that the state faces significant structural budget challenges. “The state- finances study and working to bring the growth agenda to life are among the Roundtable’s most important accomplishments over the past several years,” says Perkins.

In his first executive order, issued Jan. 18, 2017, Delaware Gov. John Carney called for the creation of a working group that would study the establishment of a public-private partnership, as called for in the Roundtable’s Growth Agenda. Working closely with the Carney administration, the Delaware General Assembly passed legislation that created the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (see profile here), a new public-private partnership approach to economic development that replaces the Delaware Economic Development Office.

“We in the business community have raised over $1.3 million to work collaboratively with the state in funding this new organization that will drive economic development and make Delaware more competitive,” says Perkins.

The Roundtable also worked in concert with the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (see profile here) to support the modernization of the Coastal Zone Act, which will pave the way for the opportunity for more jobs in Delaware. In addition to advocating for a regulatory environment conducive to innovation, the Roundtable is closely involved with First State Innovation (see profile here) in fostering the next generation of Delaware entrepreneurs.

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