Fort Mitchell, Ky. (April 16, 2024) – Findings from a national consultant, with input from the region’s business leaders, indicate that Northern Kentucky is competitive but needs to address risks and challenges with new strategies to maintain this competitiveness.

BE NKY Growth Partnership (BE NKY) released today, “Navigating Change & Charting a Course to a More Competitive Northern Kentucky,” an assessment by Economic Leadership with a five-year regional strategic action agenda.

The report incorporates the results of a community strategy campaign led by BE NKY which included more than 40 interviews with NKY’s major employers in the advanced manufacturing, life sciences, information technology, and supply chain management sectors, as well as the results of surveys from business and community leaders that attended BE NKY’s 2024 Annual Forum in January. Recent reports on Northern Kentucky’s population growth and labor supply, housing needs, and workforce ecosystem were critical inputs to Economic Leadership’s report.

“BE NKY began our community strategy initiative last year to benchmark our region and gain data on how we compare to peer communities throughout the country,” said BE NKY CEO Lee Crume. “The Economic Leadership report shows Northern Kentucky is in a favorable position today. However, there are macro-level economic disruptors on the horizon and critical needs detailed in the report where our community should be focused to ensure we stay on this prosperous path into the future.”

As a unique three-county region that is the “peak” of Kentucky, part of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and a border community to Ohio, the report shares that Northern Kentucky’s competitiveness is influenced by the state’s trajectory as well as MSA-level policies and metrics. Taking these influences into consideration, the region’s leaders should address factors within our control and adopt a proactive approach to a rapidly changing economy.

Every year, Economic Leadership analyzes the competitiveness of the country’s 100 most populous metros using nearly 100 factors grouped into six indexes: talent, cost & climate, quality of place, economic momentum, future, and global. When compared to 22 peer metros (a subset of the 100), the Cincinnati MSA ranks sixth overall, but 12th, 13th, and 16th in the economic momentum, future, and talent indexes, respectively.

Feedback from Northern Kentucky’s business community aligns with Economic Leadership’s findings that the following are critical needs for the region’s economic competitiveness:

  • Talent retention, attraction, and skill alignment
  • Coordinated planning and actions for housing and infrastructure growth
  • Creation and promotion of a recognized regional brand narrative
  • Diversify the economy and leverage entrepreneurship to build and retain local wealth
  • Improve collaborative capacity to achieve desired results

“We engaged Economic Leadership to help us assess the region’s economic inertia and provide us with a data-informed understanding of Northern Kentucky’s critical needs,” said BE NKY Research Director David McAleese. “We know that success is not guaranteed and the next phase in our community strategy initiative is to further engage our region’s community and business leaders to be proactive and develop plans so that we can sustain our competitive position.”

To address the critical needs outlined in the report, it recommends building a strong coalition of private sector, legislative, community, and public sector partners to develop policies and solutions to address risks. Adopting a collective impact model for implementation and facilitating an annual meeting of leaders to review, update, and adjust the community strategy will help the region stay aligned and on track with its strategies and goals.

“Navigating Change & Charting a Course to a More Competitive Northern Kentucky” will be presented at BE NKY Growth Partnership’s Q2 Economic Development Briefing on April 18. The full report is available on the BE NKY website.

About Economic Leadership

Economic Leadership is an economic development and strategic planning consultancy enthusiastically helping places, organizations, and leaders be more competitive, more collaborative, and more successful. Economic Leadership’s ability to help clients is enriched by the broad nature of its work and dedication to relationships and success. Over the last ten years, the consultancy has provided strategic planning, analysis, and counsel to hundreds of clients, including state and local governments, public and private companies, academia, economic development organizations, non-profits and more. Visit for more information.

About BE NKY Growth Partnership

BE NKY Growth Partnership, the economic development company for Northern Kentucky, provides businesses with the expertise they need to build opportunity in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties. We attract new business and elevate what’s already here to create innovative, forward-thinking, and attractive environments for companies and community success. We serve Northern Kentucky so that our community thrives through the creation of good jobs and a growing and diverse economy. We believe in Opportunity and Prosperity for All Northern Kentuckians. Visit for more information.