The tri-county region of Manistee, Benzie and Mason counties is one of eight rural locations in Michigan working with the
Michigan State University Land Policy Institute
on creating local entrepreneurs in the community.
The Creating Entrepreneurial Communities program lasts three years, and is designed to help communities develop support systems and programs to assist entrepreneurs. Some of those programs include coaching, training and workshops. Participants also become part of the networking infrastructure that includes members of the community, local economic and civic leaders.
During the first year of the project, communities will review support systems for entrepreneurs and gain a better understanding of their entrepreneurial pipeline.
"The eight communities that comprise this network are making a tremendous commitment toward becoming more entrepreneurial," says Barbara Fails, LPI Associate Director of Entrepreneurial Communities and project director.
They will be able to share best practices across the network and learn from each other, Fails says.
One of the hallmarks of strong entrepreneurial support is social networking, so communities in the program will try to develop meeting places, clubs, innovation centers, and entrepreneurial support organizations.
Another is providing adequate resources, such as human resources, natural resources, working capital, and access to information, transportation and digital infrastructure, as well as to public policy makers. Finally, each community will work on promoting an entrepreneurial culture, including improving attitudes toward diversity, risk and tolerance, innovativeness, and a sense of welcome from the community.
The Creating Entrepreneurial Communities project is based on the characteristics of entrepreneurial communities, which were developed by studying community-based models around the country and tested in a pilot project in 2007.
The seven other participating communities are: the Au Sable River Country; Imlay City; St. Ignace and Cedarville; Bath, Watertown and DeWitt townships; Barry and Delta counties; and Sturgis.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Barbara Fails, MSU Land Policy Institute