1. Published

    Working and living in small towns makes business closures personal for community leaders. Whether the reason is owner retirement, changing trends or international competition, closures stick with us. Communities suffer each loss in tax revenue, jobs, leadership and morale. To address the voids, University of Illinois Extension shares insightful counter strategies in various ways. Please see related articles archived at www.extension.illinois.edu/blogs/building-entrepreneurial-communities:

  2. Published

    There is a lot of discussion surrounding the Agricultural Economy right now and its potential impact on both farmers and rural communities.  In late summer 2019, the American Bankers Association and Farmer Mac collaborated on a survey.  Over 450 bank managers, executives and Ag Lenders participated from across the nation.  Bank size ranged from under $50 Million in assets to over $5 Billion.

  3. Published

    Many of us are willing to do something different with our front yards if it results in a positive environmental impact, according to a survey by the Extension CED Sustainable Communities team.

  4. Published

    This is a repost from the Just Transition Fund.

  5. Published

    During the summer of 2019, the University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development team hosted two undergraduate Extension interns. Gabe Harper-Hagen and Rhea Bridgeland were funded through the Extension Internship Experience that pairs talented undergraduates with Extension professionals to work on an applied project over a 10-week period.

  6. Published

    Startling facts show that many local businesses and livelihoods will not recover from a catastrophe. It's not because they don't want to, it's because the task is huge. Planning to survive and being prepared go a long way towards improving the odds of re-opening and money flowing. Along with a written, recovery playbook, talk to family, insurance providers, first responders and employees about this serious topic. They all need to help plan, plus understand responsibilities and details.

  7. Published

    By Susan Odum, Extension Educator, Community Development and Planning

    In an October 2018 Report, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) outlined the complex issues surrounding taxation of remote sales, including Supreme Court rulings that set precedent on remote sales tax policy for decades. As a result, an ever-growing volume of sales tax went uncollected, resulting in billions of dollars that states and local governments do without each fiscal year.

  8. Published

    This summer, communities in Illinois with coal plants or mines will have a unique opportunity to imagine a future with alternative energy – to reimagine their communities after coal mining. The conference, Climate Economy in Southern Illinois – Creating Resilient Businesses, Jobs, and Communities, will be held in Carbondale on June 12-13, 2019. The conference is for city and county governments, non-profits, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested to discuss how to maintain, reimagine, and/or rebuild our rural economies.

  9. Published

    Assessing Downtown Canton report represents a collaborative effort between Illinois Main Street, Canton Main Street, Uni­versity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois Extension. The assessment was conducted to provide technical assis­tance for revitalization efforts in Canton, Illinois. The analysis was utilized to guide downtown economic development initiatives.

  10. Published

    You probably don't think Illinois has much to offer in the natural resource department. We don't have soaring mountains or endless oceans, but Illinois's natural resources probably impact your life more than you think. I am not going to argue with you about whether or not our sliver of Lake Michigan, the Shawnee National Forest, or the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois and other rivers stack up against surrounding states.

  11. Published

    By: Delayne Weston

    Are you curious about using social media to grow your business? According to sproutsocial, a social media software business, people are "57% more likely to buy from a brand they follow" on social media. But where do you start and what do you need to know? Keep reading to find out.

    Why should you have a social media presence?

  12. Published

    I have been working with communities and creative entrepreneurs across Illinois since 2010 to assist them in developing creative-based economies. During that time, economic impact data for the creative sector has been difficult to find for both urban and rural communities. Especially in Illinois, where tourism data was last published in 2014, due to the state budget impasse. Until now, information on the impact of the creative sector in rural communities has been almost non-existent.

  13. Published

    By: Delayne Weston

    In small towns and rural counties, with part time staff and limited resources, it can be tough to coordinate community and economic development initiatives. Mercer County, Illinois, was no exception. Communities across the county were pursuing goals and projects independently and had not considered cooperating to leverage resources and share costs.

  14. Published
    "Create a culture of entrepreneurship – an ecosystem in which startup and job growth can thrive. America is loaded with talent. It has always been our greatest strength. And that talent is spread across the county – in rural areas as well as urban." Macke (2018)

    Everyone has read about brick & mortar retail stores failing in recent months. Many of the major chains are seeing falling sales and stock prices as Amazon and other on-line shopping sites are winning their customers' attention.

  15. Published

    "My dream is to compete in the Olympics!"

    Tiffany Macke, Community and Economic Development Educator for University of Illinois Extension, led her Collaborative Leadership class through the 100 Dreams Inventory. This exercise, from her iDREAM Project, helps students use dreaming and goal-setting to navigate career and life goals. Macke encourages serious dreams along with silly, crazy, seemingly unattainable dreams. Eitan Troyansky, a student in her spring 2018 class, said one of his silly dreams was to try out for the Israeli Bobsled Team and compete in the Olympics.

  16. Published
    Throughout the Midwest, there are examples of thriving central business districts. University of Illinois Extension in partnership with the University of Illinois Department of Urban and Regional Planning conducted a literature review to identify common strategies and attributes of successful downtowns in small cities.
    The team conducting the review was comprised of faculty advisor Dr.
  17. Published

    Exporting of Illinois goods and services garners more attention than importing products, components and services. Both are important to small companies and both are to be reckoned with, regardless of general opinion. World trade and commerce impact our economies, businesses and lives; and this economy is the new normal. During my service on the Illinois General Assembly's Trade Policy Task Force, downstate companies conveyed perspectives and information that focused on two drivers of decision making.

  18. Published

    Business succession planning is a community issue. Businesses anchoring our communities and economies for the past 25 to 40 years have owners wanting to retire, in record numbers.[i] For the founding generations- some earned rest… For emerging generations… opportunities to shine. Logic demands that generational differences be understood as part of the succession planning process as well.

  19. Published

    Rural America is home to 50 million people, occupies 75% of our space and is breadbasket to the world. And like urban communities, rural areas compete on a worldwide stage for jobs, economic growth and something above survival- aptly described as "quality of life".

  20. Published

    Global business traditionally evolved from successful domestic ventures. Today, Global strategies just might be the start of a business. Either way, RISK management is a core issue. Since traders encountered one another on border paths, establishing TRUST and minimizing risk have been central to commerce. Domestic infrastructure for minimizing risk evolved much faster since challenges presented by differing laws, standards, customs and languages were minimal. International trade adds interpretations, time delays and uncontrollable events.