We Can Help
What is Economic Gardening?

Economic Gardening is about using economic development resources to help increase the competitive capabilities of local business owners, especially those with specialized skills and high potential value goods and services.

Why is it important?
Research by David Birch at MIT, and corroborated by results, indicates the great majority of all new jobs in any local economy are produced by the small, local businesses in that community. Evidence also suggests that luring larger corporations is far more expensive in terms of public resources, and, in the long term, is largely "hit and miss". Larger, multi-national corporations change as markets and industries change, and they are always subject to takeovers. A common response and result is that they simply pull up stakes one day to chase additional profits elsewhere.

Does economic gardening work?
The term and program was first applied and refined in the late 1980's by Chris Gibbons, the director of economic development for the City of Littleton, Colorado. Since then, the concept has gained many followers across the USA, Australia and Japan. Why? Because from inception in 1989, to 2005, the number of jobs in Littleton more than doubled from approximately 15,000 to over 35,000 while sales taxes almost tripled to 20 million. During  that same period, the city’s population grew by only 30 percent. These key statistics far outpaced those of any other center in the USA, AND this period saw two recessions!

Combine Forces and Common Purpose Moves The World


The Canadian landscape
In Canada, The Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments do pro actively seek out and support smaller, growing "gazelles", those companies in favoured industries with job growth and export potential, and did so even before the term economic gardening was popularized by Littleton's experience.

On the other hand, for local business owner communities generally, there is no direct support beyond programs designed by the different levels of government for larger strategic purposes.

Local business owners need access to cheap strategic know how, information and resources and access to the right networks of people. They need support and expertise that can help them build better businesses for themselves, their employees, and their communities.

There is reasonably good support for start ups locally via provincially and municipally funded enterprise centers, Industry Canada's  Community Futures Development Corporations, and municipal economic development departments, but it is largely "customer pull" from a menu of what's available, which is in turn dependent on the size of budgets, capabilities of local staff and the quality of their resources.
So What Can We Add To This?
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First we raise the  business  and financial  competence of a select  group of  local
business owners and community stakeholders

Then together  we  develop a  "Community Scorecard"  designed to  uncover local
needs, strengths, goals and enablement networks.

A local mission
Next we then turn your ideas into a local vision, mission and plan everyone can be inspired by.

Then we build you into a "Community of Practice" around your chosen end state, and add more
expertise and interested parties.


On going support
Your  Economic  Gardening  "Community of Practice"  will  be  brought  on  line,
enabling you to communicate and collaborate effectively and  securely with local
and regional networks that can help. We add other people and resources as well.

For example Taxboard,  a leading  Canadian  Community of Practice comprising
tax and accounting  professionals  from across  the country  have agreed to add
their expertise, connections and ideas to the mix.
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Can you imagine this?

A Jim Collins ("Good to Great" and "Built to Last") bus full of high quality local business owners and professionals and experts on a mission to help decide on and get to that "Big Hairy Audacious Goal", that 10-to-30-year objective that is like a big mountain to climb and that will serve as a unifying focal point of effort, galvanizing the group to help "their community" become what it can be best at".

We firmly believe that as these talented people begin to work together and interact and talk and improvise their way towards that BHAG, they're going to learn from each other and be more willing to share with each other. They will end up not only benefiting their chosen community, but they will grow their own businesses and as people. That is multiple wins!

We will not pretend we'll get the “right” bus full the first or every time, but firmly believe that if we send enough busses out, a few groups of talented, motivated and inspired people are going to do some pretty remarkable things. We really believe Margaret Mead. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." That's our ideal. But we'll take a small, practical plan in Red Lake

Info L inc is a Canadian leader  
 in the development of Communities of Practice  

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