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Rebuilding small towns through entrepreneurs July 28, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Technology, Workforce.

Small Biz Survival shares a neat story about a young entrepreneur who returned to his (tiny) hometown to build his new company.  The article he quotes gives this as a partial rationale:

[The subject of the article] is one of a new breed of entrepreneurs who are able to gravitate toward rural venues because digital technology untethers companies from congested urban centers. If the American heartland is to survive in a global economy, it will need more like him, economists say.

This is a critical workforce notion, one that Richard Florida raises constantly and one that is playing out in communities of all sizes all over the globe.  As long as the community is wired (and now with satellite Internet technology, even being wired isn’t as critical), you can move there and conduct most any type of business.  In northeast Indiana, Pete Eschelman did the same with the little Town of Roanoke when he consciously chose to keep American Specialty Insurance there instead of leave for a larger community.

Economic development is not just luring the next big company to your community.  It also is a matter of growing your own – and recruiting those who will grow with you.  The workforce planning challenge is to stay nimble – to meet niche needs and constantly stay at the front end of societal and economic change.  You never know which company or industry will have demand for your people.



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