Data for Decision Makers Resource Guide

by Zach Kennedy, Extension Specialist Community and Economic Development

STARTUP Jefferson County provides entrepreneurs and small business owners the tools to succeed

November 13, 2017

By Elaine Craver

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ill. - We're all familiar with the phrase, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Well, that's what Jefferson County, Illinois said to itself almost three years ago when it found itself in real need of some good ideas.

Can arts drive rural economic development? This is a question that I continue to ask myself as I expand Developing the Creative Economy (DCE) that will be presented next in Greenville, IL on February 2, 2017. As some of you are aware, the DCE program is based in part on the work done between 2010 and 2014 with creative entrepreneurs in Rockford, Illinois, a metropolitan statistical area of 350,000 located in Northern Illinois.

Are you interested in learning the how-tos & possibilities of developing a creative economy in your community?

On March 5th, Pam Schallhorn, University of Illinois Extension, Community & Economic Development Educator was interviewed in a podcast on Creekside with Don & Jan in Greenville, Illinois. In the interview Pam talks about developing a creative economy and the community planning sessions she will facilitate along with the City's Economic Development Coordinator to develop and market an art-based culture in Greenville.

Recently Norman Walzer and Jessica Sandoval from the Center for Government Studies at Northern Illinois University in consultation with David Ivan from Michigan State University and Greg Wise from the University of Wisconsin-Extension published a paper on the Emergence and Growth of Community Supported Enterprises.

One of the pressing issues for rural communities today is the loss of young residents. Many rural communities are currently working on ways to attract and retain youth in rural areas. One of the main strategies thought to attract & retain youth is "actively engaging and consulting youth in community development".1

Here is a video on a technique, developed by the Orton Family Foundation's Heart & Soul Project, currently being used to engage teens in Bellevue, Iowa.  Perhaps it is something your community would like to try.

In my June 7, 2017 blog ILLINOIS - A LION In The INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE, I addressed the basics of how to get started in world markets. I now begin taking a deeper look at deta

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.

This is another article from Susan Odum's BUY LOCAL series.  Susan is a Community & Economic Development Educator with U of I Extension

"There are a lot of words one might use to describe Julie Kuppart, including energetic, adaptable, and passionate, but after spending an afternoon with her, I think inspirational sums her up best." – Susan Odum, Extension Educator, University of Illinois Extension

This article was written and contributed by Zachary Kennedy, Community & Economic Development Specialist, U of I Extension

A business plan states expectations, defines risks and explains how resources will be most effectively utilized.[i] My definition of a Business Plan is; the steps necessary to accomplish stated intentions. Defining, highlighting, sequencing and clearly communicating them are challenges. Content is dictated on a case-by-case basis, and complex plans require greater organizational effort.

I recently reviewed the 2016 Forbes' rankings of "Best Countries For Business" and pondered America's slide from the top spot in 2006 to number 24. The respected Kauffman Foundation has identified a current three year improvement in the U.S.A., and other indexes are much kinder. Still, a summer search for ideas seemed a worthy mission. The discussions and interest in entrepreneurship as an economic development contributor are everywhere.

There is no doubt that economic development in rural communities is changing. The prospect of bringing large industrial firms into small, rural communities becomes ever more elusive. Eisinger (1998) said that "third-wave economic development strategies have emphasized the need for locally led development efforts that build from within instead of depending on attracting from outside the community."  In southern Illinois, flowers once growing decades ago on the Harvey Hartline farm in Makanda, Illinois have given rise to the Peony Hill farm of today.

Those who follow economic trends frequently look at entrepreneurial activity as an indicator of economic health. While opinions vary on the current health of entrepreneurship in the U.S. and around the world, there is agreement on the importance of this business sector. Economists applaud the job creation and economic activity that startups and young businesses provide. The following reports bring us up-to-speed on the current conditions of entrepreneurship:

Canton recently participated in a North Central Regional Center for Rural Development study exploring factors related to a community's success in creating a resilient and vibrant downtown. The Resilient Downtowns Case Study Series was designed to highlight best practices regarding small-town downtown development through the creation of community case studies. The project's multi-state team consisted of Extension Educators and Specialists from University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, and University of Wisconsin.