Entrepreneurs possess a spirit and enthusiasm for growth and innovation comparable to that of a community’s economic development office. While both parties are ultimately working towards a similar goal, their paths may not cross early or often enough.
In order for entrepreneurs to achieve business success and economic development organizations (EDOs) to achieve community growth, they need each other. Here’s why:
- Growth resources – EDOs can provide small and mid-size entrepreneurs with resources and connections they need to compete with larger, more connected businesses. This can help level-up small businesses by giving them insight on factors like market intelligence, labor and spending data, business plans, site selection and other critical business points.
- Foster networks – Entrepreneurs benefit significantly by connecting with other business professionals in the area. EDOs are also able to more successfully do their job when staying present on local developments and business opportunities. Development offices can help foster networks by setting up virtual and in-person workshops and avenues for sharing and reciprocating lessons learned, best practices and other strategies for business growth.
- Amplify awareness – Spreading the word about small and mid-sized businesses helps to achieve a two-fold goal: Entrepreneurs get in front of more potential customers and EDOs support and drive community growth. Whether on social media or by more traditional means, giving a shout-out to each other can be a simple way to offer support and market new businesses in the community.
There’s no doubt that the relationship between entrepreneurs and economic development offices is mutually beneficial. Business owners should be actively reaching out to their EDOs in much the same way that development offices should be connecting with, supporting and advocating for new entrepreneurs in their community – regardless of the business size. With their partnership, emerging businesses will continue to thrive.