One of the important factors when creating economic development programs in any part of the world is knowledge of the resources you have in place.
We help economic development agencies organize their resources so they become relevant. Here are four tips for doing so:
Acknowledge the resources you have. Organize them in a meaningful way by grouping similar resources under one heading — tourism, for example, or agriculture resources.
Acknowledge the opportunities you have. What opportunities do you choose to seek? Who would benefit the most from these resources? Some of the countries I’ve work with have lots of resources — they can go after multiple opportunities. Others did not, so they can only go after specific opportunities that allow them to leverage the limited resources they have.
You might have to outsource. What resources can you bring from the outside to help you build the bridges you need to get where you want to go?
Create a system for capacity building for your country, region, or local area. Is this something you plan to do repeatedly? Can some of your citizens/residents learn these skills?
Some agencies challenge themselves by giving new staff or members opportunities to explore and design a program to attract and retain entrepreneurs or small business development.
This can be costly because while those individuals might do their best, they don’t necessarily know where to start or how to do it. It’s like telling them, I want you to build a house — just go figure it out. It doesn’t mean they can’t — it just might take them longer, or they might build in the wrong order, or do something that could make your house unlivable.
Where someone who built houses before could potentially shed a light on the steps and processes to going after the ideas in a meaningful way. This is especially true if they have experience work with under-resourced places. They must first leverage the resources they have before they start building on the resources they don’t yet have.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- What experts do you have in your back yard or nearby that could support your launch of a program?
- What programs are already out there that you could learn from before you create one of your own?
- What other resources have you leveraged to ensure the success of your programs in the communities you serve?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.