Young: Developing a strategy to grow entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is one of the most critical missing ingredients in securing regional economic prosperity.

For some time now my colleagues and I have worked at drafting a strategy model for entrepreneurship growth we’ve been unable to complete.

But we have renewed that goal for 2014 and  here is a taste of our vision.

Entrepreneurship, the process by which entrepreneurs are created and encouraged, is one of the most critical missing ingredients in securing regional economic prosperity and a sustained high quality of life for all Okanagan residents.

Entrepreneurship is at the heart of an effective home-grown regional economic development strategy. It’s further critical to enhancing the position of our region in the new global economy.

The theme of this latest strategy model is “connecting the dots” because much of what is needed to create and sustain a first-ever Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurship Strategy—the know-how and the organizations and institutions—is, for the most part, in place in our amazing region.

However, there needs to be a high-level of commitment to local economic and industrial development that would enable existing economic and education priorities to be adjusted.

Great levels of collaboration among public, private and non-profit institutions—many of which have not worked effectively before—must also be encouraged.

Additionally, a modest investment of resources, could yield significant and long term benefits for the socio-economic well-being of our beloved regional landscape.

This strategy concept proposes three closely-linked objectives for an entrepreneurship strategy for the Okanagan:

Creating a pipeline of entrepreneurs by forming a large and diverse pool of people who are budding, aspiring and existing entrepreneurs who are ready to start and build entrepreneurial ventures in our midst.

From this pipeline would flow a steady stream of high achievers with interest in creating ventures, jobs and wealth in their respective regional communities.

This strategy would require incorporating and solidifying entrepreneurship education into the curricula of the K-12 system and two to four year college and university programs and provide encouragement for an entrepreneurial mindset through effective networking and greater public recognition.

It would call for upgrading of the existing array of public, private and non-profit venture/business support services into a seamless system that can deliver financial, technical assistance and real estate services  that are relevant and appropriate for all levels of development in the regional floor.

And it would introduce a system of promotion and oversight for entrepreneurship development that directs public resources, attracts private and philanthropic support, benchmarks performance and, dramatically raises ongoing public awareness.

This strategy model would embrace eight  specific key goals:

1. Bring entrepreneurship education programs to at least half of the regional school districts within five years.

2. Make training opportunities for fledgling entrepreneurs readily available in all corners of the region.

3. Ensure affordable, convenient and effective sources of information and technical assistance to all categories of entrepreneurs across the region integrating education and business services

4. Promote an entrepreneurship culture within the most economically disadvantaged and advantaged corners of the region as well.

5. Raise the profile of the existing Okanagan region entrepreneurs and thus the region’s improving entrepreneurial climate.

6. Offer enhanced credit programs in entrepreneurship in public and private colleges and university environments in the region within five years.

7. Ensure access to equity and debt capital in all parts of the region.

8. Make entrepreneurship a high-priority economic development linchpin for the entire Okanagan region.

Entrepreneurship is seen as the important ingredient in securing economic prosperity and quality of life for all regional citizenry.

It offers a way to engage and excite people from all walks of life and from the landscape to take control of their lives and economic destiny.

It will invariably take many actions to adjust existing systems and a high level of commitment to effect such adjustment.

It will mean collaboration and partnership between public, private and non-profit sectors like never before.

But the potential is truly mind-boggling  and building on the physical, financial and intellectual assets of the region, the strategy connects the dots of existing activity to create a new exciting image of prosperity for our beloved best place on earth region of the province.

Hope you like this description and entrepreneurship strategy concept as we desire bringing it into reality in 2014 for us all to enjoy together.

Kelowna Capital News