It's been well documented that entrepreneurship is the major differentiator between healthy economies and stagnant or declining regions. The question is, what can communities do to spark entrepreneurial growth, especially in regions that have not demonstrated a risk-taking cultural inclination? Can rural communities truly affect their economic destinies?
Communities do in fact show huge variations in their ability to stimulate and support entrepreneruship. An article in The Daily Yonder showcasing how different communities in Oklahoma vary in their small business health indicators highlights what the nation's most entrepreneurial small towns have to teach us:
1. An emphasis on Main Street - A vibrant central business community has been demonstrated to both generate growth and attract much-needed talent to a region.
2. Put aside your differences - What happens when rival small towns work together for a better overall region? Good things.
3. Focus on your assets - It's always wise to build from your strengths.
4. Diversify yourself - If your region rely heavily on a concentrated industry, you're clearly at risk.
The Business Innovation track at the Create WV '09 Conference will feature several relevant discussions on this topic. We hope you can join the conversation and take back these best practices to your community!