Leadership

Continuing the Conversation: Creating Entrepreneurial CommunitiesJan 07

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Creating Entrepreneurial Communities

During the Georgetown University Catalyst Summit, Megan Yonke provided definitions for entrepreneur and an entrepreneurial community:

An entrepreneur is person (or a group of people) who identifies and pursues a new business (or social) venture opportunity. An entrepreneur organizes, operates and takes risks in pursuing this venture in expectation of gaining a profit.

Entrepreneurial Communities are those communities where significant economic and social entrepreneurial activity exists and where there is an effective system of public and private support that facilitate and support entrepreneurship.

Based on her community economic development work and research in Michigan, she described why entrepreneurial communities are important for long-term economic sustainability. Finally, she discussed five commonly-employed community economic development models:

  1. Anchor Approaches
  2. “Cool-Cities” Initiatives
  3. Public-Private Partnerships with Educational Institutions
  4. Community Economic Development and Networking Organizations
  5. Enterprise Facilitators

While she briefly discussed some pros and cons of each model, she led GCG to take the conversation to a deeper level. During this Catalyst Conversation, Megan leveraged the experiences and ideas of the group to identify additional pros and cons of each approach. She discussed the applicability of these models to other domestic and international community examples.

Guiding Questions included:

  • What is the demographic of an entrepreneur? How would you define an entrepreneur?
  • What specific aspects define an entrepreneurial community? Which model(s) we discussed do you believe to be most effective?
  • What role do mentors and assistance organizations play in facilitating economic development?
  • What role do academic institutions play in developing entrepreneurial communities?
  • Is clustering good for the future of a community’s economic development? Should we be worried about disappearing economic diversification?

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