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Mayor Bieter: Boise shows courage during challenging economic times

Mayor David Bieter gave a great speech this morning in his State of the City address, focusing on a very appropriate theme of “courage” in a challenging year for any city in the United States.

Bieter harkened to the wonderful courage shown by athletes who participated in the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. That brought a few tears to my eyes, thinking about my autistic son and the courage shown by Special Olympians in all of the phases of the winter games. If anything, the experience of watching them compete made me feel that I have to try harder to help my son Drew try athletic endeavors, even though he has no interest in doing so. The payoff for him will be big.

The theme of courage also resonated about the difficult economic times that we’re experiencing in Boise. It’s heartwarming to see that Boise is weathering the economic storm better than some, and how many of our businesses and new startups are finding traction in a difficult marketplace because of great talent, smarts and initiative.

Here’s a statistic you might not know: Boise ranks 4th in the nation in the business “churn” factor, an economic term to gauge the number of startups and failures as a percentage of the total businesses in Boise.

“Sure, we’ve lost a lot during these tough economic times, but we stand to gain even more because of ingenuity of our people,” Bieter said, mentioning a few high-tech and alternative energy startups like Inovus Solar and Clearwater Analytics.

Bieter wants to create a “Green House,” a startup incubator center much like the Boise Water Cooler that will be dedicated specifically for alternative energy startups. I love that idea, and it will help create more enthusiasm and investment for alternative energy development in Boise. Bring it on!

We can look back on the last 12 months, and we all know that times have been tough. But in Boise, we have courage. We have innovation. Our business “churn” rate shows we’re not afraid to take risks. Thanks for the inspiration, Mayor Bieter. We’re all in this together. Let’s keep churning and moving forward to the mayor’s goal of making Boise “the most livable city in America.”