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Entrepreneur week advice for small towns: 3 practical steps for economic developers and chambers of commerce

Last year during entrepreneurship week, I saw lots of articles about what big cities can do to support entrepreneurship. Advice for small towns got left out. Again.

So I wrote this entrepreneur week advice for small town economic developers and chambers of commerce, whether you serve 5,000 or 500 in your local population.

1. Create small spaces for entrepreneurs

Divide big buildings into shared retail spaces, garage-sized shops, small storage rooms for makers, and super affordable coworking for offices. These smaller spaces help keep startup costs down so entrepreneurs can grow to their next step. Then if a next step doesn’t work out, it didn’t require big financing and failure doesn’t have to mean financial ruin.

2. Recognize your artists and artisans as entrepreneurs with real economic value.

Support their efforts to sell online and at regional events. Create and support shared artist studios, workshops and galleries. Incorporate local artists into events and celebrations. Pay local artists and artisans for their work and creations.

3. Boost your food business ecosystem.

Find out about and support your growers, farmers, processors and markets. Expand the market for local foods by getting more local foods in front of more people. This includes your local residents and your visitors because both groups love to eat local.

Deb Brown and I made a 25 minute video on Food Business Ecosystems that is available for purchase at SaveYour.Town