Made in [insert state name]

Made-in-insert-state-hereDuring our projects across the United States this past year, Fourth Economy has come across a number of initiatives for supporting local manufacturers and boosting the local economy. One approach gaining popularity is the state-based “Made In” branding and associated database of the state’s manufacturing businesses.

Continue reading “Made in [insert state name]”

National Fourth Economy Community Index Lists Top 10 Large-Sized Counties for 2013

Fourth Economy Consulting announces the latest release of its national community index, listing top counties from across the nation. The Fourth Economy Index highlights those communities ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth within the fourth economy.

PITTSBURGH, PA – The latest release of the “Fourth Economy Community (FEC) Index” was announced today listing the nation’s top 10 large-sized Fourth Economy Communities. These communities are those ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth.

The “fourth economy” characterizes the most recent phase of our nation’s economy, reflecting a combination of the previous three to include agrarian, industrial, and technological. This new index is intended to serve as a dashboard for community stakeholders to gauge their capacity to attract and retain modern investment.

“There has never been a more important time for economic and community developers to rethink how we measure economic success,” said Rich Overmoyer, CEO of Fourth Economy Consulting, the economic development firm that created the index in 2011.  “Recent articles in the New York Times and The Atlantic on the use of state incentives to lure big companies reinforces that an outdated model of economic development needs to be evolved to one that considers a broader set of community investment opportunities. The Fourth Economy Index is an attempt to highlight what makes stronger, economically viable communities,” Overmoyer added. Continue reading “National Fourth Economy Community Index Lists Top 10 Large-Sized Counties for 2013”

An Investable Story: The EntrepreneurCenter, Nashville

StartUp America Partnership and communities throughout the country work to reinvent their economies there are some models that should be noted.

In this post I would like to highlight the great work of Michael Burcham and his team at the Entrepreneur Center. Over the past few months I have had the pleasure of meeting Michael and have developed an understanding of their approach to supporting entrepreneurship in Nashville. As Michael likes to tell people he is working to support entrepreneurs as they seek to create an Investable Story.

The work of the EntrepreneurCenter is showing very promising early results and generating a lot of interest and awareness in the Nashville community and beyond. The Fourth Economy team has seen lots of entrepreneurial models over the years but there is something special about the work going on at the EntrepreneurCenter.

Some of the factors critical to their success:

  • Private Sector leadership – the business skills and entrepreneurial experience of Michael and others on the team provides a ‘do by example’ process and is generating involvement by other private sector leaders.
  • Public-private partnership – as many folks are calling for these partnerships, few know how to structure them. The EntrepreneurCenter has struck a balance of each partner playing to his or her strengths and supporting the entrepreneurs.
  • Robust network mentors – business people with broad industry experience. It is an honor to be an EntrepreneurCenter mentor. There is an application process, with fee, and training that must be conducted before you begin to advise an entrepreneur. This set up has created a committed group of mentors that are often invaluable resources to the community’s entrepreneurs.
  • Tough love – Contrary to what you’ve been told there are bad ideas and often someone with an entrepreneurial spirit has one and starts a company around that idea. The EntrepreneurCenter process for support entrepreneurs allows people to come to recognize when their idea turns sour and if needed the team sounds prepared to give the tough love message.
  • Open access – the goal of the EntrepreneurCenter is to support high growth potential entrepreneurs, which are often technology driven. They provide tools and supports for all types including lifestyle entrepreneurs and are aggressively using technology tools i.e. Skype and online to make their education and guidance available to anyone who needs it.
  • People First, Space Second (or fourth) – The EntrepreneurCenter has an incubator component with their space already full after only a few months. They are not however focused on creating a larger real estate holding and would rather partner with other incubators and real estate developments in the city. Too often the real estate come to control the behavior of entrapper initiatives as you become more worried on the rent or mortgage payment and less on the quality of the services your are providing the companies themselves.
  • Art meets Entrepreneurial Science – while no one can predict the success of any particular entrepreneur’s idea there are tools, training and technique that can mitigate some of the risks. The team is working in the heart of Nashville after all so there is still an art form to what they do, but more than I have seen with many similar programs around the country, the EntrepreneurCenter team is implementing a set of services that is showing significant early success and if the trend line continues will be a model that many others should be replicating.

2011 Tennessee NEXT Conference on May 5-6, 2011.