ICMA recently wrote about the Seven Steps to Developing an Economic Gardening Implementation in an article excerpted from the InFocus issue, Strengthen Your Local Economy through Economic Gardening, by Christine Hamilton-Pennell of Growing Local Economies, Inc.
Economic gardening is an entrepreneurial approach to economic development that seeks to grow the local economy from within. Its premise is that local entrepreneurs create the companies that bring new wealth and economic growth to a region in the form of jobs, increased revenues, and a vibrant local business sector. Economic gardening seeks to focus on growing and nurturing local businesses rather than hunting for “big game” outside the area.
The ideal entrepreneurial ventures to have in your economic garden aren’t necessarily high-tech, but they have probably developed some sort of sustainable innovation in their product, process, or delivery method. They also have a potential or actual market outside the local economic region and create high-quality, living-wage jobs.
As the title implies, the article outlines seven steps for developing a successful economic gardening project:
- Gain the support of local officials and other stakeholders
- Identify your community’s assets
- Develop a collaborative effort among resource partners
- Create a system-wide operating agreement
- Determine the target audience for services
- Develop a delivery system to provide services to the target audience
- Develop a communication system to gain community support and buy-in
Would it be presumptious of me to suggest an eighth step: implement a Calendar Network in your community? Face-to-face events are the number one way for people to meet, connect, and interact. Having a Calendar Network that provides a complete view of all the business events happening in a region is an important part of identifying your community's assets, developing a collaborative effort, delivering services to your target audience, and communicating to gain community support and buy-in.