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Local Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Toolkit

Local Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Toolkit

By Heidi Pickman and Susan Brown

First published November 2019

CAMEO has witnessed several trends over the last decade that call for a new tool in the economic development toolbox.

  • The social contract between employer and employee is changing radically.
  • Automation continues to eliminate entire job categories.
  • Traditional industries have limited growth of employment opportunities.
  • This is especially true in rural areas, where jobs were heavily concentrated inindustries like logging, mining, or manufacturing.
  • The concept of “jobs” is shifting.
  • Small business owners and entrepreneurs are creating their own jobs.
  • In rural areas, microbusinesses can account for up to 95% of all businesses intheir communities.

Rural economic development strategies need to adjust to these new trends to include a place-based approach to rural economic development that will foster a healthy ecosystem for the creation and growth of small businesses.

This toolkit describes the elements of a healthy ecosystem. The introduction flushes out why a new economic development tool is needed and briefly describes the elements. The five subsequent chapters explore more in-depth the five elements that make up a strong ecosystem.

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