startupWhy startups might be more important than smokestacks to Louisville 3.0 

Is this the moment Louisville begins transitioning from a conventional manufacturing center to a New Economy?

Because we may not have any choice.

Electrolux executives have assured officials in their U.S. headquarters city of Charlotte, N.C., that they’ll be pleased with how things turn out if Electrolux’s acquisition of Louisville-based GE Appliances and Lighting Division is consummated.

In an oft reported quote, Electrolux CEO Keith McLoughlin stated:

“Charlotte is the headquarters and will be the headquarters, and the size of the business just doubled,” McLoughlin told the Observer. “I would say that the opportunity in Charlotte just got better.”

The implication is that McLoughlin will end up with GE Appliances’ engineering and executive people.

A few days ago, IL interviewed departing Beam Technologies CEO Alex Frommeyer — who’s moving his company to Columbus, Ohio, after a $5 million infusion of private equity capital — about how he sees Louisville’s future. (You can see the full post here.)

He had this advice to economic-development officials: Focus on startups.

Startups bring human touch points to communities, Frommeyer said. Startup personalities are typically aggressive, super-involved, high-energy people in multiple business and civic efforts. They volunteer. They mentor. New Greater Louisville Inc. CEO Kent Oyler, who is an entrepreneur, “is everywhere. (Glowtouch CEO) Vik Chadha is everywhere,” he said. “So you see why you want startups: It’s not only for their direct economic impact, but the personalities who do startups tend to be these high-impact community leaders.”

What Louisville loses – and other cities gain – when startups leave are people who network at the highest levels, teach classes and get involved with economic-development efforts, according to Frommeyer.