Here’s the good news: One way or another, the 2020 election will be over soon.
Here’s the bad news: This election will leave scars, and we have a lot of things that need to be fixed. The past few years have left a lot of people, locally and nationally, asking “What’s next?”
Here’s what’s next:
We build strong communities at the local level.
Strong communities are created at the local level, not via the federal government.
That’s the way it has always been. Entrepreneurs, business owners, ecosystem builders, educators, parents, community leaders, and concerned citizens solve problems. Over the years CO.STARTERS has seen groups of people with wildly divergent points of view come together to create new economic opportunities and stronger communities. That won’t stop based on who occupies the White House. In fact, regardless of who wins, rebuilding communities through entrepreneurship needs to accelerate.
In order to remain competitive, communities need to focus their energy on building our Next Economy.
That won’t happen because a President, Governor, or Congressman orders it to happen.
It will happen when economic developers and ecosystem builders create an environment that fosters the growth of entrepreneurs with a holistic vision of their community.
Communities need to look around for best practices and see what’s working.
A few years ago, journalist James Fallows traveled across the county to see if thriving communities—regardless of whether or not they were in a “red” or “blue” state—shared anything in common.
According to Fallows successful communities share the following traits:
- Divisive national politics are a distant concern;
- They have “local patriots”;
- Successful public-private partnerships are a fact of life;
- There is a “civic story”;
- They have thriving downtowns;
- They are near a research university;
- They have and care about a community college;
- They have innovative schools;
- They welcome new people into the community;
- They have big plans.
Re-read that list.
Is your community headed in the right direction?
If it is, don’t change course—but if it isn’t, you need to rethink your community building and economic development strategy.
2020 won’t be our nation’s last divisive election.
Divisive elections can stop communities from reaching their full potential.
But that doesn’t mean a divisive election has to stop your community.
Because your community can choose to rise above division.
We need to recognize that the world is changing, and we need innovation and entrepreneurship to solve our problems.
We need to look to the future and be strategic about training and developing the next generation of world-changing business leaders.
Today’s visionary entrepreneurs want to build companies with holistic perspectives that help people realize their potential. They are building companies that recognize the contributions of the individual human beings who are the true engines of all successful companies and communities.
We don’t need the president’s permission to help entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders with a compelling vision for their community. How can we help visionary entrepreneurs succeed?
By supporting programs that help create, train, and develop new entrepreneurs.
Communities need to start believing in themselves.
No matter their name or party, the president can’t stop you and I from creating the Next Economy. A president cannot stop us from achieving our individual and collective potential.
The reality is that the hard work of building our Next Economy falls on the shoulders of local leaders, entrepreneurs, economic developers, and ecosystem builders.
That’s a big job, and if you’re going to do a big job, first you need to believe that you can do that job.
Simply put: We need to stop blaming each other and start believing in ourselves and doing the work we need to do.
We need to start believing in each other.
People who look differently, pray differently, think differently, and vote differently are not our enemies. They are our neighbors, friends, family, innovators, business partners, employees, bosses, and our problem solvers. They are our partners and collaborators in building the Next Economy.
Do you want your community and ecosystem to move beyond politics and toward a bigger, better, and more compelling vision for local economies?
You can start by registering for Restart 2020, a special three-day series to learn how you can develop an entrepreneur support strategy that will rebuild, refresh, and restart your community.
But so do starters, ecosystem builders, and economic developers.
And so do you.