The Economic Development Dilemma
I’ve been fortunate to have been in the economic, workforce, and talent development arena for three decades. Initially, I was just tapping my toes in it as I recruited for my own company, trying to find talent that I could train to deploy in new offices for my expanding company.
Later, as a member of the executive teams for some of the largest stores in the country — Robinson’s and Macy’s — recruiting management and staff for the stores and for management development. And, for the last 17 years, in the entrepreneurship and small business arena in over 60 countries around the planet.
I bring this up only to say that I’m speaking from experience, based on conversations I’ve had with kings, ministers, presidents of universities and companies, aspiring entrepreneurs, job seekers, and high schools/college students looking to choose a career path or the venture they might want to start.
The dilemma that I see in many cases is that most of the time, the people in charge of entrepreneurship programs or small business development programs have no experience in that arena. Or, they may have been running their own business before they were either thrown in or assigned to create programs for their communities to support startups and small business development.
This is a dilemma because most of the time they are not sure what programs to use, whether they should create their own. They are all struggling to do the best they can based on the experience and resources they have, which can impact how open or closed minded they are about how entrepreneurship should be approached.
Some of the definitions I have heard are:
- An entrepreneur must have an innovation or a technology, or something new
- An entrepreneur doesn’t need funding, just mentoring and training
- An entrepreneur must put some skin in the game
I hear the same things about small business development.
The reality? There are many ways to approach this, and really none are right or wrong. I’m speaking from the aspect of the communities I serve, which are generally those that are not attracting entrepreneurs, and communities that are promoting employmentalship rather than entrepreneurship.
Before you deploy a program in your community, do a bit of research to see what is out there. There are programs you may be able to deploy right away, without having to reinvent the wheel, and after your first deployment you might modify it for better results in your community.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- What does your community really need?
- Has what you think it needs been validated by the community?
- What resources will you need/use before you deploy a program?
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.
#entrepreneurship #economicdevelopment #smallbusinessdevelopment #farisalami