Why is entrepreneurship important as a community and economic development strategy?
Entrepreneurship was once ignored because the impacts were small, diffuse, and incremental. But no more. Today, entrepreneurship is more appropriately thought of as economic “gardening” rather than “hunting” (industrial recruiting). Think of it as tending to the seedbed in one’s own backyard as opposed to going out to hunt that one trophy animal.
Business growth or sustaining the health of existing businesses is also an important component in this more contemporary approach to economic development. Business growth and viability are based on maintaining a competitive edge rather than just trying to retain and expand businesses.
Contemporary economic development is broad and comprehensive. It applies to attracting new enterprises, both goods-producing and knowledge-based. In contrast to earlier industrial recruitment approaches, it is based on knowledge workers and a culture of innovation rather than cheap land and labor. It also includes attracting different “business anchors” such as senior housing, educational enterprises, and visitors and retirees. These are less traditional but effective ways of increasing the flow of resources into the economy from outside.