Updated with New Case Studies
Creating an Entrepreneur-Friendly Public Library
Economic Gardening Articles and Resources
Read about economic gardening in this bibliography of current publications.
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Supporting Entrepreneurship Blog
Best practices and research on supporting entrepreneurship
Strengthen Your Local Economy through Economic Gardening
by Christine Hamilton-Pennell
This ICMA report describes the key elements of an economic gardening program, provides overall implementation considerations, examines the features of currently existing economic gardening models, and provides specific tips and strategies for implementing an economic gardening program at the local level.
Purchase this report through the ICMA bookstore
Read an excerpt (PDF)
Grow Your Own
Read the Stanford Social Innovation Review article, Winter 2010, "Grow Your Own: How Economic Gardening Nurtures Local Businesses," by Anne Stuhldreher. The article discusses the Littleton, Colorado Economic Gardening program and profiles Littleton company, ChurchPartner, which was able to grow its company through the services received.
Economic Gardening: Next Generation Applications for a Balanced Portfolio Approach to Economic Growth
The U.S. Small Business Administration devoted an entire chapter of its 2006 report, The Small Business Economy: Report to the President, to the benefits of economic gardening.
Other Resources Available from Growing Local Economies:
- Finding Competitive Information for Growing Companies
Read Christine's recent article in FUMSI magazine (part of the Freepint.com community)
- Public Libraries and Community Economic Development: Partnering for Success
Read Christine's article from the Winter 2008 issue of the Rural Research Report (PDF file).
- Libraries Supporting Entrepreneurship (podcast)
Christine was interviewed by Sarah Long, Director of the North Suburban Library System (Illinois) on the benefits of public libraries supporting local entrepreneurship.
- CI for Small Businesses: The City of Littleton’s
Economic Gardening Program
Read Christine’s article from the December 2004 issue of Competitive Intelligence magazine.
Community Economic Development
Energizing Entrepreneurs, http://www.energizingentrepreneurs.org/, is a program designed to help leaders and citizens in rural communities and regions across the U.S. embrace entrepreneurship as a core rural economic development strategy. The website offers tools, success stories, research, and other resources for supporting local entrepreneurs.
Hometown Competitiveness, http://www.heartlandcenter.info/htc.htm, offers a comprehensive approach to long-term rural community sustainability that focuses on four pillars: developing leadership, energizing entrepreneurs, engaging youth, and charitable giving.
Entrepreneurial League System, http://www.entreleaguesystem.com/, is “an innovative approach for transforming local and regional economies by developing entrepreneurs’ skills, creating successful companies and building entrepreneurial communities.” Modeled after the farm system in baseball, the program organizes individual entrepreneurs into teams according to their skill in creating or growing a business – Rookies, A, AA, and AAA. Entrepreneurs are then assigned to work intensively with Performance Coaches who are themselves skilled entrepreneurs.
Main Street Program, http://www.mainstreet.org/, is a community-driven, comprehensive methodology used to revitalize older, traditional business districts throughout the United States. “The underlying premise of the Main Street approach is to encourage economic development within the context of historic preservation in ways appropriate to today’s marketplace.”
Asset Based Community Development Institute, http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/abcd.html, contrasts the two approaches that troubled communities can take to rebuild themselves: the needs-driven “dead end” approach, or capacity-focused development that builds on existing assets.
Appreciative Inquiry Commons uses a systematic set of processes to discover what works in an organization and to move towards inventing their most desired future. Visit the Appreciative Inquiry Commons to learn more, http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/.
World Café, http://www.theworldcafe.com/, offers a process for leading collaborative dialogue and knowledge-sharing, particularly for larger groups. This powerful conversational process allows communities to think together, evoke collective intelligence, and create actionable results.
Entrepreneurship Resources and Tools
Boomtown Institute, http://www.boomtowninstitute.com/, builds on the successful book by Jack Schultz, Boomtown USA: The 7½ Keys to Big Success in Small Towns. The mission of the organization is “to provoke innovative thinking, encourage leadership and foster investment in communities across the U.S.A.” On the website you can sign up for a weekly e-newsletter that focuses on best practices in economic development Schultz has seen during his Boomtown USA speaking tour. You’ll also find an extensive list of recommended resources.
Economic Gardening, http://www.littletongov.org/bia/, was first pioneered by the City of Littleton in 1989. It is an entrepreneurial approach to economic development that focuses on the three pillars of information, infrastructure, and connections. You can read about the history and principles behind economic gardening on the city's website. You can also sign up to join the econ-dev mailing list, which is a good way to keep in touch with other people interested in economic gardening.
The Kauffman Foundation has an Entrepreneurship website, http://www.kauffman.org/Section.aspx?id=Entrepreneurship/ that provides resources on a variety of entrepreneurship sectors, including youth entrepreneurship; minority entrepreneurship; higher education; capital, markets and economics; knowledge, training and networks; and global entrepreneurship. The Foundation has produced a number of key research reports on entrepreneurship, including Where Will the Jobs Come From?; the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996-2008 and the Kauffman Survey: Entrepreneurship and Economic Recovery. Most are downloadable from the website.
Entreworks, http://www.entreworks.net/, is a consulting firm that “works with communities, organizations, and civic leaders to design, implement, and promote innovative economic development strategies, policies, and programs. We help create and publicize the best of new thinking about community economic development. Our work is based on a belief that entrepreneurship in all its forms is the key to revitalizing our communities, ranging from the booming technology hot spots to distressed rural and urban communities.” The website contains a number of downloadable reports on effective economic development strategies and around three dozen annotated links to key organizations.
YourEconomy.org, http://www.youreconomy.org/, is an interactive research tool developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation. The website allows users to explore economic activity in their own communities — and across the country. YourEconomy provides detailed information about the performance of businesses from a national to a local level.
Small Business Development Tools
Business Information on the Internet, http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/, compiled by Karen Blakeman of the United Kingdom, provides a selection of business information sites on the Internet. Among the topics covered are market and industry information, company directories and direct marketing. The site is especially useful for locating international information sources.
Duct Tape Marketing, http://www.ducttapemarketing.com, from small business marketing guru John Jantsch, takes a strategic approach to marketing. His website offers a useful newsletter, an award-winning blog, and several downloadable resources.
Entrepreneur.com, http://www.entrepreneur.com/, from Entrepreneur magazine, has a vast array of resources on starting a business, buying a franchise, growing a home-based business, business opportunities, money and finance, sales and marketing, management, e-business, technology, and other topics.
SCORE, http://www.score.org, offers a host of resources for people starting, growing, financing or managing their business. One of the most valuable services offered is “Ask SCORE,” a database of retired business people who will provide free business advice. You can specify an area of expertise, for example, manufacturing, advanced technology, disaster recovery, or financial services, and also qualify your search by state.
Synergetic Systems LLC, http://www.synsysllc.com, offers fee-based workshops and programs teaching business owners how to make excellent people decisions and have employees whose strengths match company needs.
Tools for Business Success, http://www.toolsforbusiness.info/, is a fee-based service that provides a customized portal with local, state, federal and best-of-the-web business information and tools. Approximately 80 percent of the Tools are federal web resources, while 20 percent is customized with the hosts' local and state information.
The Wall Street Journal Small Business center, http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-small-business-marketing.html, provides articles and other resources on topics such as small-business financing, running a business, using technology, building awareness, franchising, small business resources, and a small business how-to guide.
Web EG, http://www.webeg.net/, offers a two-day training that enables economic development and economic gardening staff to provide professional-level advice and assistance to local companies that seek to grow their business via the Web. As a result of the training, staff will know how to analyze company websites for high potential business opportunities on the Web, identify Web design flaws, and make recommendations to businesses about Web and search engine marketing strategies.