Saturday, April 17, 2010
Micro regions: Plan macro. Act Micro.
In the world of economic development there is a strong push toward bigger, multi-jurisdiction, multi-state economic development regions. Good. This has great value.
However, we need to remember our raisin'. What is important to individuals is the quality of life in their own micro region. Why can't a small micro region or a couple of counties be a perfectly wonderful way to spend a day or a weekend or as a basis for a fulfilling lifetime?
Do you know the Fall Art Tour that traverses beautiful Sauk and Iowa Counties in Wisconsin?
My friend Karna Hanna is a great economic developer. She runs the Sauk County Development Corporation.
There is a long-standing, hugely successful arts alliance between Iowa and Sauk counties called the Fall Art Tour. The tour knits together artists along a great scenic drive through the amazing rural Driftless region closest to Madison.
The Fall Art Tour spans an area from Baraboo and Spring Green in the North, through Dodgeville and Mineral Point in the south. It wanders across a couple of political boundaries, but no one on the Art Tour notices. It's just a great day to enjoy art and food and an amazingly beautiful landscape.
Karna and I are continuing to do more entrepreneurship work together. The last time I talked at Karna's Inventor and Entrepreneur Club was before I started working in economic development. Now Karna is coming in this month to help facilitate our Iowa County Club and I'm going to head back to Baraboo and make a presentation about food entrepreneurship through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.
This month's Iowa County Entrepreneur Club will be April 28th in Dodgeville (link below). Please come out and welcome Karna and hear a great presentation.
There will be a great talk that evening about how to sell products and services to the State of Wisconsin, presented by Chuck Wallschlaeger, Government Contract Specialist with the Business Procurement Assistance Center (link below).
I get to make a presentation that same evening at the Sauk/Columbia Club about how to utilize our new Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen for food entrepreneurship and expanding jobs in food processing.
If you know anyone in an appropriate radius around Baraboo that would like to learn about starting or expanding a food enterprise through the Innovation Kitchen please see the info link below.
Can arts help define an economic development micro region? I'm watching it happen. What could be next? Local foods and regional food systems?
Our beautiful Fall Art Tour started humbly and now helps to define an elegant, enjoyable economic development micro region.
As we grow out these ever larger development regions, let's stop and give thanks and support to the micro regions where people actually live and participate together.
Regional culture, foods, arts, and environment define the kind of place sustainable development will occur in the first half of the 21st century. New models of advanced manufacturing and service delivery can arise with and from collaborations like this taking place in micro regions all over the world.
Quality of life issues will define which kind of businesses and entrepreneurs micro regions will attract. Building the support networks required to attract, nurture, and support those entrepreneurs is what I think economic development is about.
For economic development it's a great time to plan macro, act micro.
The Fall Art Tour in Iowa and Sauk counties, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.
The Iowa County Area Entrepreneur Club. Info about this month's presentation - Selling to the State of Wisconsin. April 28. 6 PM Dodgeville.
Sauk County Development Corp.