Creating a Successful “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”

In Main Street districts, one of the best ways to fill vacancies, and prevent new ones, is to foster a setting that is attractive to entrepreneurs and where small businesses can thrive.  The buzz word nowadays for that setting is “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” which refers to the elements outside the individual that encourage entrepreneurship and increase the probability of a successful business following a launch.  That ecosystem is what attracts, or repels, a business from locating in an empty storefront.

entrepreneur-ecosystem

Entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. is up 60% and at its highest level since 2005, according to the newest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM U.S. Report) with retirees looking for a second career and younger adults driving the trend.  The market is ripe.

Energizing Entrepreneurs was developed by the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship to provide a roadmap for communities looking to build their own Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. It is a great resource for communities, organizations and individuals who want to learn:

  • Why it’s so important to become an entrepreneurial community;
  • The elements of a support system for entrepreneurs;
  • Assessment tools to develop a local strategy;
  • How to understand and connect to entrepreneurs; and
  • The importance of creating, measuring and sustaining local impact.

Exploring the opportunity is a first step and DHCD’s Building Entrepreneurial Economies program can support the effort!

Learn more >>

Crowdfunding for Main Street

Local CrowdAre you looking for new and exciting ways to raise funds for a civic project, your Main Street organization or entrepreneurs in your community? The Local Crowd is a new crowdfunding platform that has been developed to help communities raise support for local businesses and projects.

The Local Crowd can help you do several things for your community:

  • Support local small business capital needs
  • Raise money for civic projects
  • Provide needed funding sources for local nonprofits and charities
  • Connect the economic development resources in your community with the people that need the capital

The Local Crowd is a crowdfunding technology that can help businesses and organizations in your community gain access to the capital they need. The Local Crowd platform combines the power of internet crowdfunding with a strong educational focus, designed to increase the knowledge and sophistication level of rural entrepreneurs and financial contributors.

The Local Crowd is looking for communities that offer great networks for businesses, entrepreneurs, residents and community leaders that embrace the tenets of buying, shopping and investing locally. To learn more about the power of investing in community, contact the Local Crowd to apply for the opportunity to become a demonstration community here.

Seek the Unique and shop Downtown Bristol!

Bristol-Who knew you could support your local businesses from the luxury of your own couch? Don’t let that stop you from shopping in person in one of America’s most charming towns.

Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia has been named ShopOnMain’s most “Charming Town” in America and will now be featured in an upcoming episode of the TV series “Small Town, Big Deal.”  More than 100 cities were part of the competition with more than 20,000 votes cast.

Believe in Bristol Executive Director Christina Blevins is thrilled that Bristol is being recognized nationally.

“Shopping in downtown Bristol is truly blossoming, from antiques to clothing stores and art galleries and so much more, Bristol really has it going on.  Seek the unique!  Believe in Bristol thanks everyone for their support downtown, and we hope to continue with this type of success!  Congratulations downtown Bristol!”

Along with being featured on “Small Town, Big Deal,” Bristol also is featured prominently on ShopOnMain’s website, a new online shopping experience where you can discover local shops all over the country and support local communities.

Congratulate Bristol!

 

Virginia Main Street Grant Opportunities

VMS-logo-colorVirginia Main Street is currently accepting grant applications for FY 2017. Grants are available only to designated VMS communities and must be administered through the designated local VMS organization.

Downtown Investment Grants (DIGs) allow Main Street organizations to take on unique, one-time projects that measurably, creatively and sustainably advance the organization’s goals and strategies.

FY 2017 DIGs are available in two categories:

Design: Projects that will visually enhance the Main Street District. These may include wayfinding systems, street furnishings, façade improvements or other unique aesthetic enhancement projects.

Economic Vitality: Projects that will contribute to the revitalization activity in or near your Main Street District. These projects may include an innovative economic revitalization idea with implementation plan, new independent businesses that create new full time jobs in your Main Street district or other exciting projects that result in positive job creation and fulfills an economic vitality goal from your organization’s current work plan.

The last day DIG applications will be accepted is May 2, 2016. For more information about DIG, click here.

Financial Feasibility grants allow Main Street organizations to work with owners of significant “white elephant” buildings or those with non-productive upper floor space. The purpose is to identify the highest and best use of such properties and to develop sufficient information to allow the owner or Main Street organization to “shop” the rehabilitation and reuse of the property to private developers and investors.

Financial feasibility grants are being accepted on an ongoing basis until funding is exhausted. You can get more information about the grants here.