Dear friends and colleagues:
For six months, I've been working on a totally on-line course on innovation-based economic development, and it's launching today for a limited time. With twelve modules and loads of bonuses, it will take you from start to finish on policies and programs that any community can implement to make a difference in their economy. The link with more info is HERE.
When I got my first economic development job 30 years ago as the director of an incubator in Fairfax, VA, I didn’t know anything about any of this. I think I got hired because I had an MBA and ten years in sales and marketing for various computer and telecommunications companies, and my boss was ex-IBM. Somehow, I got through, learned on the job, and eventually led Virginia’s entrepreneurial programs statewide.
I got lucky, too, because a move to North Carolina led to spending three years at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill reading everything I could get my hands on about how researchers were discovering about how innovation and entrepreneurship influence and drive economic growth.
Not everyone has the luxury of taking time out to go back to school, and many are probably learning on the job, just like I did. To be fair, back in the 1990s, all of this was pretty new. Incubators were a relatively new phenomenon, and accelerators and co-working spaces were still fifteen years in the future. This was pre-Internet, pre-Google, pre-dot.com. No one had even uttered the word “ecosystem” in this context.
Today, there are so many opportunities and choices for economic developers to make. So, it makes sense to learn more about the big picture before you jump into your own community’s situation.
Every community, region or state is unique. It has its own demographics, geography, history, culture, business and industry mix, assets and politics. To figure out how to create, building or grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem requires an understanding of both the framework of innovation and entrepreneurship-based economic development, and a replicable, reliable process for linking that framework to your situation.
The course is designed to give you both the framework and the process. If you follow the exercises in each module, you will have a great start on a plan for your community. And, the beauty of an online course is that you can view the modules anywhere, anytime. No travel. No time away from home.