If your economic development strategy doesn’t include entrepreneurship, you are missing out. Economic development is fundamentally about community wealth creation - and the best way to create wealth is entrepreneurship.
Many economic development strategies center around and focus on attraction and retention models, and they fail to include entrepreneurship into the equation. One of the most effective ways to create net new wealth is to build an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs who create high growth companies and add numerous jobs to the local economy, and attracting new talent.
“ALL NET NEW JOB GROWTH IN THE U.S. OCCURRED IN COMPANIES LESS THAN FIVE YEARS OLD”
— KAUFMAN FOUNDATION
By adding entrepreneurship to your strategy you are able to increase the effectiveness of your attraction strategy and promote more sustainable retention rates.
All actions should align with community goals.
Entrepreneurs are the individual actors that an ecosystem should revolve around. Identifying them early to discover their barriers and needs is the first step in identifying where your ecosystem has room to grow.
The second question community builders should be asking is how they can assess the current ecosystem to identify what resources the community is working with. This assessment can help provide context and allow community leadership to identify gaps and develop an action plan for moving forward.
Create actionable plans
Once we have identified entrepreneurs and gaps in an ecosystem we are able to create mission, vision, and metrics to align a community action plan towards. Metrics should measure the ecosystem mission. Growth is good. Quality growth is better. Alignment with stated goals is best.
how do we measure & create Ecosystem strategies?
We believe in building better ecosystems for entrepreneurs.
Despite growing interest in developing entrepreneurship in communities, there is still a lot to be understood about its measurement.
The social and environmental factors in a community, and all interactions taking place within it, are complex and varied. Measuring and managing the growth of entrepreneurship requires a systems-based approach with clear mission, values, and metrics to guide its progress.
Our approach is to work to identify the entrepreneurs in the ecosystem early and find out what they need to be successful. Talking with entrepreneurs is the quickest way to identify what gaps may exist within the community.
Everything is connected and interrelated. A holistic approach focuses on the entire system, not just one part.
Open systems allow inputs and outputs (wealth, ideas, individuals) to freely move throughout the system. In other words, it supports everyone.
Seeing around corners isn’t difficult, but it does require forethought, a strategy, and someone willing to stick their neck out.
Healthy growth is based upon flexibility and inclusion.
Change is the only constant.