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Entrepreneurs Can Buffer Loss of Major Employer

Marlene Lucas

The Gazette

February 19, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

Smaller communities can hedge the potential loss of large corporate employers by cultivating entrepreneurs.
That’s the proposition of Jack Schultz of Effingham, Ill., author of ‘‘Boomtown USA: The 7 1/2 Keys to Big Success in Small Towns.’’
The generation born from 1977 to 1995, called the Millennial Generation, will be the most entrepreneurial generation in the history of the United States, Schultz says. It will be compared to the generation that in 1880 transformed the United States into a world power.
More than half of the Millennial Generation have dreams to start their own businesses. Economic developers can help direct them and connect them with investors.
‘‘Iowa is on the cutting edge of this with the Pappajohn Institute,’’ Schultz says.
The John and Mary Pappajohn Institute, initiated in August 2005, provides a fastpaced, challenging academic program for exceptional students.
Economic developers can encourage fledgling entrepreneurs in small towns by organizing brown-bag lunches with an accountant who discusses taxes. Other topics can be marketing or developing a business plan, says Paul Heath, director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Iowa.
Entrepreneurs also can benefit from business and mentoring workshops.
‘‘Entrepreneurship can be taught, to some extent,’’ Heath says. ‘‘It takes passion on the part of individuals, but they need to be taught regulatory requirements and where financial assistance is available.’’