Saturday, August 30, 2014

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET: Engineering An Entrepreneurial Community for Our Local Economy

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
-Winston Churchill

With the rapid advancement of hyper-communications, our community has the opportunity, as never before, to engineer & build an entrepreneurial community.

In my post today, I will share six elements necessary to engineer and grow, what I call an entrepreneurial community.  They are taken from a series of posts from Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur turned educator and mentor in the lean startup movement; teaching at Stanford University, Cal Berkeley, and Columbia University. He cites what is being done in the Bend, Oregon Region (  For obvious reasons these six elements require adaptation to our Silver Creek Community and White Mountain Region.

These following are the six elements of engineering an entrepreneurial community (he refers to it as a "tech cluster") and adaptations as appropriate.

Entrepreneurial Density

In layman's language, that is a high concentration of entrepreneurs in a geographic region; for our purposes the Silver Creek Community and the White Mountain Region.  In his post he defines density as follows:

...the connection of like-minded firms and their support services...

Adaptation:  As mentioned above, hyper-communications are making it easier and easier to tap into resources worldwide (high tech expertise, mentoring, etc.).  The resources are available.  The difficulty/opportunity is how to best access them.


He suggests a local tech university is an element that "provides a source of technical talent, research, etc."

Adaptation:  Our Northland Pioneer Community College recently added a Associate's Degree in Mechatronics ( to their offerings.  In addition, NAU offers a number of programs offering technical education and research opportunities at the graduate level.  This may sound like a broken record, but again, hyper-communications are making these types of resources increasingly available to rural communities such as ours.


The Show Low Regional Airport and Taylor Airport provide us with some promising opportunities to reach major airports throughout the West, especially Sky Harbor in Phoenix.  Additionally, our local railroad adds to our commercial logistic capabilities.  We are also located on one of the major north/south highways in the state (Highway 77) and regionally connected to a highly traveled east/west interstate route (I-40).

Local Early-Stage Risk Capital

This is a major opportunity to be exploited in our region.  Again, hyper-communication offers greater access nationally and internationally to such resources.  Furthermore, as our entrepreneurial community develops the pool of local investors grows to help in meet these demands and attracts interest from out of region investors.

Local Entrepreneurial Community Entrepreneurial-driven Events

These are solely determined by local initiative.  Local chambers of commerce can play a substantial role in this respect.  Partnering Technologies, an Arizona-based learning and development organization is in process of developing such events and currently offers a program including paid internships, training in key skills/competencies, and peer coaching/mentoring (

Business Community Support

This is a direct quote from his post:

One of the most difficult things to do is technically the easiest – a dispassionate self-assessment to understand what assets your community has and what you lack.

First, what is your value proposition to a family or business to locate in your region? Recognize that a big part of your job is to remove friction, drive awareness, and amplify the efforts of your local entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs attract other entrepreneurs, so it’s vital to kick start the cycle.

Next, identify your goal. Is it creating a job works program? Stopping brain drain in the region? Attracting and building some key core competency in the region? Ideally your existing talent base and ecosystem naturally support the “core competency magnet” you want to develop.
Adaptation:  Again, remember resources are available, the opportunity is in accessing them.


The key to engineering and growing an entrepreneurial community is cultivating the practice of entrepreneurship.  Quoting again from his post:

In the past most regional growth strategies have focused on attracting established companies looking to expand or open a new plant. While it may be strategic for the region to recruit some of these established businesses, those deals usually involve huge tax subsidies and typically create a small finite number of jobs. What isn’t part of most regional growth plans is the organic growth of an entrepreneurial tech cluster in the region. If successful, sewing the seeds of entrepreneurship can lead to a more rapid and sustainable job growth for the region.

A Question for Your Consideration

In what ways could you promote and cultivate the Silver Creek Community as an “entrepreneurial community”?

What Do You Think?

As always, your constructive comments are welcomed.

Next Post

Local Entrepreneurial-Driven Events

The Silver Creek Economy 2014 blog is sponsored by Partnering Technologies, an Arizona-based Learning & Development Company.  Their focus is helping individuals and organizations learn, consistently apply, and master a skill-set that is always in high demand, always highly valued, and always highly paid.  Its founder is Jim Sanderson.

Visit their website at and find out what they are doing to build a more prosperous economy for our community in 2014.

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