When Delaware wasn’t selected as one of the top 20 candidates for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), Delaware leaders took it well — after all, Philadelphia did make the top 20, and Northern Delaware is a part of the Philadelphia region.
This led to the question: Why did Delaware make its own longshot pitch instead of bidding with Philadelphia from the start?
Cerron Cade, director of the Delaware Division of Small Business, Development & Tourism who was confirmed as Secretary of Labor in January, had this to say in an email to Technical.ly Delaware (published with permission):
One of Delaware’s strengths as a location for business expansion is its proximity to and connection with Philadelphia, as well as its strategic location also close to New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. This is a key element of many pitches the state makes to businesses, including Amazon for HQ2.
Delaware can be successful – and frequently is – by sharing its narrative, which includes being part of the Philadelphia region, like Camden (N.J.), Bensalem, Chester, Bristol Township and Delaware County all did for the Amazon HQ2 proposal, too. Individual applicants, promoting the benefits of their own location can be very effective method, as evidenced by Amazon’s selection of Montgomery County, Md., and Northern Virginia along with the city of Washington, D.C., itself.
Especially considering we had shovel-ready locations that fit the requirements laid out by Amazon, Delaware owed it to our citizens to take our own shot at the project. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
And taking that shot does not preclude Delaware from now throwing its support behind Philadelphia’s bid, which the governor, congressional delegation and Wilmington mayor did right after the Top 20 announcement. We have been in communication with Philadelphia and continue to be as the city moves into the second round of consideration.
Delaware needed to make its own Amazon pitch, because the company and the world were watching. Amazon has many projects beyond HQ2 for which a strong play here could put Delaware in the mix. After all, Delaware is home to the company’s first East Coast distribution center. With all of the innovation going on, there is no telling what great opportunity could be right around the corner. The pitch also put the state on the radar for companies that may spring up as a result of and around HQ2, if it ends up in Philadelphia. Lastly, with every site selector in the nation keeping a very close eye on the Amazon RFP process, Delaware made a solid case as a location for any business to grow and thrive. The “Options in Delaware” campaign sold the state to everyone and has already led to phone calls from companies that are not Amazon but saw the video.
Whatever you think of the Amazon HQ2 frenzy, I think most of us can agree that the “Options in Delaware” video makes Delaware’s bid worth it.
Here, watch it again: