Entrepreneurs - Who Are They?

Putting Learning Into Practice

The pilot counties used a number of tactics to better understand their homegrown entrepreneurs.

  • Entrepreneur Business Retention Visits were conducted in Cass County. The visits were a valuable tool for learning more about entrepreneurs’ needs and interests. We have included sample survey questions under Resources that you too may want to use for your visits. Business visits are a great way to express appreciation and recognition for entrepreneurs at work in your community.
  • E-Stories. Stories about local and regional entrepreneurs are a great way to better understand your entrepreneurial talent and to create awareness in the broader community of local entrepreneurs – their history and their needs. In Knox, the development of case studies as part of the Soaring on Eagle Wings: Entrepreneurs of West Central Illinois publication is one way of using stories to help answer the question – who are entrepreneurs? The Entrepreneur Task Force of the Tri-State Summit (Adams) used successful entrepreneurs on a summit panel as a first-hand way to share e-stories with the community.
  • Networking. Networking events are a good way to draw entrepreneurs out of the woodwork so that you can uncover your entrepreneurs and listen to their needs and experiences. The Entrepreneur Task Force of the Tri-State Summit (Adams) has sponsored networking events, including events that help entrepreneurs learn more about useful resources in the region – Linking and Leveraging: Resources for Entrepreneurs and Survival Techniques During an Economic Downturn. Pike County is adopting the BizLink model currently utilized in Hancock County where, each month, entrepreneurs travel to a different business location in the county to learn more about their operations. To learn more about the importance of networking click here.
  • Targeting. One way to better understand your entrepreneurs is to focus on a specific sector or type of entrepreneur so that you can really target your learning from a smaller, perhaps more manageable, group of entrepreneurs. Adams County has put this learning into practice in two ways. The Live Local Campaign in Quincy targets independently-owned businesses in the community and encourages local purchasing from those businesses. The new effort to encourage a cultural and economic renaissance in downtown Quincy through the Quincy Artist Relocation Program is focused very specifically on understanding and encouraging the entrepreneurial aspirations of artists, both local and those that might be attracted to the community.