We specialize in providing personalized, professional services to small businesses, non-profits, and economic development organizations. We’re particularly successful in responsive, affordable solutions to start-ups or early stage businesses, and newly formed non-profits that are concerned about management and planning structures, government regulation, and tax compliance. We even assist established organizations with short-term project management, setting targets, and formulating outreach messages and publications. When it comes to economic development . . . frankly, we've done it all. We’re on your side. We approach each task focused on your success in a heart centered way.
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EA Designs Winning Conference Poster
Last fall EA designed, on behalf of Grand Valley State University's, Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, a conference poster (36X44) highlighting the results of a 3-year offshore wind assessment project. The poster won best of show for its depth of content, visual appeal, and best in category for Resource Assessments. The conference was the American Wind Energy Association's annual Offshore WindPower 2014 Conference and Exhibition held in Atlantic City, NJ. Click here to
Restoring the Middle Class: Let's Teach Entrepreneurship in High School
The Third Leg of the Education Stool ... College Bound, Technical Training, and his proposed option ... Teaching Entrepreneurship. Check out my blog above for a copy of the presentation.
Business Development Planning for EDO's
With the start of the New Year, now would be a good time to reflect on your economic development plan for the NewYear. Oh boy, I know another plan to put on the list of things to do. But don'tfret; with a little organization and forethought, it should only take a fewhours and 5-10 pages to get it done. To help you organize your thoughts and thelayout of your plan, here is a guide to follow.
Start with a statistical analysis of you're community's economic indicators. Identify trends in industry, labor force, and indicators of wealth (poverty, population growth, tax collections, wages, etc.). Then devote a half page or so of strategy to each of the sections below. Be action oriented either citing your organizations specific work plan to address the topic; or how you will network with other providers either through leadership positions or through the provision of resources.
1) Business Retention and Expansion - set a goal of how many companies to visit but be realistic. Set a goal you can achieve. Your visits should target three types of companies: your legends, ones that the community was built on, your high growth companies, and your early stage companies. To determine your high growth companies consult the Dun and Bradstreet data base. Or for free, consult the list here ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.tab2.txt. Match the latest US growth sectors with your local companies in the same sector. If you don't know how to find early stage companies in your community, consult with the University, local incubator, or the Small Business & Technology Development Center.
2) Business Attraction - a successful program results in relationships with about 2-4% of the companies you contact. These relationships must be nurtured and maintained to result in a win. It's also expensive and should be undertaken in cooperation with a region or state. Focus on companies that our in your sweat spot. What are you good at? Either due to resources you have, location, labor skills, or great business parks. Look for companies in the growth mode. Have buildings and sites ready for sale and development. In your BRE program, ask local business who they think would be interested in locating in your community.
3) Business Incubation - nurture your start-up companies. If you don't have an entrepreneurial niche, create one working with local universities and businesses with research departments. Think outside the box here.
4) Entrepreneurs - provide business accelerator grants, up to $35,000, and pre-seed funds, maybe match up to $25,000. If you don't have the resources to go it alone, hook up with an organization that does.
5) Marketing - sell what's cool. It's a whole community effort from housing and schools, to entertainment, workforce, infrastructure, markets, and land. Make a plan to get the word out both locally, particularly if you are dealing with community low self esteem, and advertise nationally mixing tourism with development opportunities.
6) Workforce - get to know it inside and out. Your biggest problem is probably about a mis-match between whose looking for work and the needs of business. Set some goals on how to bridge that gap. It's about talent development and recruitment.
7) Organizational Staff - set some goals for yourself and your staff. Education is very important and opportunities for advancement and certification should be addressed. Don't leave out Board training either.
8) Community Networking and Reporting - if you don't tell your story, they don't know. Implement a communication system with the board, investors, the community, and the media. These are 4 different messages. Communication should occur weekly, through a week summary of activity to the Board, a monthly newsletter to investors, a quarterly economic barometer to the community, and an annual report for all.
9) Community Initiatives - if you don't have one, get one. If you have more that one, that's too many to focus on. Prioritize the most important. Start with one, complete it, and move on to the next.
10) Develop New Business Clusters – medical is the low hanging fruit. Make sure the growth of this sector is at least equal to that in the nation. Other potential new clusters could be film and entertainment; software development; sustainable energy systems; bio fuels; or re-shored manufacturing activity.
If you’re uncomfortable doing thisalone, select a small master mind group with whom you can exchange ideas anddiscuss strategy. Finally, adjust yourplan throughout the year to adapt to the every changing environment in whichyou work.