Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture/Community

Dr. Deborah M. Markley Co-Director RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
7th Annual National Value-Added Ag Conference Indianapolis, Indiana June 16-17, 2005

Unique Challenges to Rural Entrepreneurship      Culture often does not support entrepreneurship Entrepreneurs are isolated from peers and mentors – networking difficult Entrepreneurs fly below the radar screen of local economic development officials Rural communities “waiting to be saved” – dependency alive and well Need to take a portfolio approach to investing in entrepreneurship .challenging .

Why create an entrepreneurial culture/community?    Entrepreneurs thrive in a supportive environment In a supportive culture. leaders accept losses that WILL occur but continue support for entrepreneurship anyway Outcomes from entrepreneurship occur over the long term – need a culture of entrepreneurship to stay in the game for the long haul .

How to create an entrepreneurial culture/community     Leadership Youth engagement Celebrate Success Learning from others .

Leadership     Broad based: immigrants. young people Involve entrepreneurs: “by and for entrepreneurs”. zoning for homebased businesses) .. women.g. share results Policy change: entrepreneur-friendly policies send a message (e. new arrivals. engage them where they are Engage community in strategy development: seek input.

Example: Georgia’s Entrepreneur Friendly Communities    Statewide. strongly focused on assets Learning network of E Friendly communities . community-based Entrepreneur Network (ENet): GA Tech in partnership with state ED Community process to establish entrepreneur support program: review visit to determine E Readiness.

skill building program: 20-25 people annually (including youth) Meet monthly for 9 months More people running for office. not born Ord Nebraska: Leadership Quest program – – – – Formal. serving on boards Recognized by Nebraska as top rural development strategy in 2003 .Example: Home Town Competitiveness   Leaders are made. working on community projects.

Youth Engagement     View youth as change agents Leadership (as in HTC) Entrepreneurship education in schools. after school programs Need to move from “teacher driven” to institutionalized approach – Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education national standards .

com) – 1st year.wvdreamquest. experiential (www. experiential learning (www.minisociety.org) Mini-Society: 8-12 year olds.org) WV Dreamquest: high school business plan competition (www.Examples: Curriculum and WV Dreamquest    Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL): curriculum for K-16.realenterprises. over 150 students participated .

Celebrate Success     Celebrate to reinforce cultural change (news stories about entrepreneurship) Celebrate to maintain and build momentum (highlight successful entrepreneurs. youth entrepreneurship awards) . E of the year) Celebrate to influence policy makers (joint ribbon cuttings) Encourage innovation (business plan competitions.

” headquarters location for 50 companies . “Silicorn Valley. rank in top 5 in per capita charitable giving. tripled per capita income. networking. new start ups Over 20 years: created 2. E Hall of Fame.Example: Fairfield Iowa’s Entrepreneurs’ Association    FEA created in 1989 – by and for entrepreneurs (mentoring.000 jobs. “boot camp for entrepreneurs”) Celebrate E of the year. seminars.

org .Where do you begin?    Important to get started – don’t need elaborate strategy to write a story or feature entrepreneurs at a chamber dinner There are tools and resources available – coming soon! E2 Energizing Entrepreneurs: Charting a Course for Rural Communities Visit our website – www.ruraleship.

follow up! .Right now…  Start by networking – – – – Find one person in this room who you DO NOT KNOW Introduce yourself and ask what is happening in his/her hometown to encourage entrepreneurship or to build an entrepreneurial community Share what you are doing in your community Exchange business cards.

For More Information     Deb Markley – dmarkley@nc.org Don Macke – Brian Dabson – www.rr.ruraleship.org brian@rupri.com don@ruraleship.org .