Community Connections is all about finding the youth in your community who either are learning about, or would like to learn about entrepreneurship and connecting them with opportunities to start their own business in their own community. Webster states one definition of Community as a group of people having common interests. To Connect is described as to join, link or combine.
Organizing your community to be supportive of new entrepreneurial ventures means setting goals, developing plans of action and implementing those plans. Use the interactive tools included in this curriculum to help you accomplish all of this and more!
Mavens, mentors, coaches or champions are needed to help young entrepreneurs get exciting new business ideas off the ground. These connections can be adult to adult, adult to youth, youth to youth or youth to adult. TV Show host, Art Linkletter has proved “Kids Say the Darnedest Things!” We know, through years of working with 4-H youth, that young people can dream of the “darnedest things”, and given encouragement, those things can lead to the future prosperity of your community.
Mapping your community’s assets – sometimes called Asset Mapping, or Community Resource Mapping is a great way to identify resources, not only financial, but human resources for entrepreneurial ventures. Young entrepreneurs have a difficult time finding resources to help them start their new ventures. Funding, location options, local support are all needed – find out what you have now and what you may need to add for your future growth. What are the things about this community that make it special? Who are the entrepreneurs who are doing business in the community right now? What are our community’s assets?
Understanding our youth – thru constructive intergenerational dialogue and Uniting the community to support entrepreneurship is key to encouraging young people to build businesses in your community. We all know that if you toss a kid a ball, that young person will run with it. It’s pretty simple, really…we just need to market the idea to everyone in the community – Kids have great ideas, and kids can get things done – Listen to your kids!!
Networking is another word for joining with others to create a vision for your community. Every community needs to come together to create a vision for what the future of the community can be. As many community members as possible must be involved in creating the community’s vision. Networking also includes communities talking to other communities. A community is not defined by the town or city borders. Connecting resources, assets and ideas is key to becoming a supportive entrepreneurial community.
Ideas are generated when everyone gets excited and engaged into your new venture. Case studies, models and modules included with the Community Connections curricula will identify some “best practices” that other communities have used.
Taking steps to help community members get excited about the community’s vision for the future creates an environment for success. Your school system is training the future leaders and business people for your community. We invest more in education than almost anything else, and yet, many of the young people we are investing in will leave and never return to our community unless we energize now to create a community they won’t be able to leave because there will be none other like it, and they will create ways to come back! Connect to the schools!
You can make a difference. Sustaining all of the above is a final key ingredient. We can’t think about these things today, and expect long-term results. We have to create a vision and a plan so that we can all work together to focus on our future, and be very intentional in our efforts to grow and develop into the community we want to be.
Community connections is your guide to become a supportive entrepreneurial community.