How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Town

…nine different ideas for promoting entrepreneurship, within both government and the private sector.

street-festivalA strong town needs strong local businesses. Local businesses provide jobs and opportunities for wealth creation. They can become a draw, encouraging visitors from outside your community, as well as a way for community members to support each other by buying local. Only with a thriving locally-based economy—one that isn’t owned or propped up by someone six states away—can we succeed in creating sustainable jobs and lasting economic prosperity.

Entrepreneurship is a hot word these days. Lots of towns say they would like to attract more entrepreneurs and grow their small business communities. But how do you do it? There are many ways to encourage entrepreneurship in your community, both through government leadership and private sector/neighborhood-level work.

THE GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN ENCOURAGING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

1. Adjust zoning codes to reduce business costs.

Do your zoning codes allow for mixed-use buildings where a shop owner runs her business on the first floor and lives upstairs? Are there minimum parking requirements for new businesses? Are food trucks permitted in your community? These are good questions to ask if you want to encourage small business growth. Buying or renting and renovating a building for a new business can be extremely costly. If your community allows for creative use of space, diverse income streams and smaller options than the typical stand-alone store, you lower the barriers to entry for small business owners.

2. Help facilitate walkable business districts.

Walkability is a huge factor in small business success and can create fertile soil for entrepreneurship to thrive. In a concentrated, walkable neighborhood with shops and restaurants, passersby are far more likely to frequent multiple businesses than if they were just driving to a specific store in an auto-oriented area.

Read How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Town by Rachel Quednau at Strong Towns.

February 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

33rd Annual Eco Farm Day

Saturday/Sunday February 25-26, Ramada Inn, Cornwall, ON, This year’s theme: The 3 R’s or Organic Agriculture: Restorative, Responsible Resilient. To kick off the event we have Mark Shepard, author of Restoration Agriculture: Real World Permaculture for Farmers as keynote speaker. There will be many additional workshops following Mark’s address. Add in the amazing organic lunch and the 40 exhibitor Trade Show and you have a complete event! Doors open at 8am. Stay for the free evening screening of The Organic Life, in partnership with All Things Food and Transition Cornwall+.See the full program and more info at www.ecofarmday.ca and from our facebook page.

February 17, 2017 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment

Seed Starting: Easy Setups for Home Gardeners

seed-startingGrowing your own seedlings indoors can save you big bucks, as well as open up a whole new world of crop variety options. When you start seeds at home, you aren’t limited to the, well, “garden variety” plants available at most garden centers.

The range of setups you can use to start your seeds is nearly as diverse as the plants you can grow. We reached out to our readers to find out what seed-starting setups work well for them, and this is a roundup of their ideas. As you get set up at home, keep in mind that using lights will usually work better than placing plants on windowsills, and certain lights are superior for this purpose.

Read Seed Starting: Easy Setups for Home Gardeners  at Mother Earth News.

February 15, 2017 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

New Years Resolutions for a Strong Citizen

taking-stockOur hope is that over the course of this year, we will practice living our values more fully, save money to invest in improving our neighborhood, make our home, garden, and neighborhood more resilient and antifragile. So far, Frugality Month is off to a good start. It’s hard—really hard—but when you see your savings rate soar you realize how quickly you could be saving for that business venture, home, or real estate project.

This is a bit of a departure from the typical Strong Towns terrain, but in our movement, getting the “right answer” or understanding the problem is only half the battle. If we are not able to change our own behaviors to respond to our predicament, if we only ask what hypothetical “other people” should be doing differently… we’re never going to get there. We need to develop a practical path to becoming stronger citizens, for our families, neighborhoods, and cities.

Read New Years Resolutions for a Strong Citizen by Seth Zeren at Strong Towns.

February 13, 2017 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

Just Eat It – A Food Waste Story

Sunday, February 12, 1:30 – 3:30 Cornwall Public Library  Join the Transition Cornwall+ Food Action Group and EarthWorks Permaculture Community for their 4th Annual Winter Film Series hosted in partnership with the Cornwall Public Library. We will be showing the film Just Eat It following homemade soup and light refreshments. After the film there will be a short presentation by the store manager of Farm Boy followed by a discussion.

 

 

February 10, 2017 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Ontario Making Electric Vehicles More Affordable

electricOntario is making it easier for people across the province to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and switch to an electric vehicle (EV) by further enhancing its Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP).

The Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP) supports the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), rewards early adopters, and helps to create market demand for new technology in Ontario by providing incentives for the purchase and/or lease of eligible EVs.

Part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, and in effect as of Jan. 1, 2017, the updated EVIP:

  • Removes the cap limiting EV incentives to 30 per cent of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)
  • Eliminates the $3,000 cap on incentives for EVs fully run on battery power and priced between $75,000 and $150,000, which enable long-range, zero-emission travel and have less environmental impact than lower priced plug-in hybrids
  • Continues to exclude EVs with an MSRP of $150,000 and above from qualifying for incentives
  • Offers incentives only on vehicles produced by automakers who are partners in Ontario’s new Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Advancement Partnership (EHVAP).

Read the News Release HERE>>

February 8, 2017 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

Where money grows

Cities routinely rake up tens of millions of dollars from their urban forests annually in ways that are not always obvious. Leafy canopies lower summer air conditioning bills, but more shade also means less blade to maintain thousands of acres of grass. Health-wise, trees contribute to lower asthma rates and birth defects by removing air pollutants.

Portland, New York City, Milwaukee and Atlanta are among the cities that have quantified the payoff from pines and palms, olives and oaks. It’s part of a breakthrough in thinking among city planners in recent decades who now realize that a city runs not just on engineering, but on biology and ecology as well.

Read Where money grows by Jack Payne at Corporate Knights.

February 6, 2017 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

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