Eight rural Michigan communities have been chosen to improve their local economies by participating in a project that will help their regions “grow their own” entrepreneurs.

The Michigan State University Land Policy Institute is leading a three-year project entitled a three-year project entitled Creating Entrepreneurial Communities to help these communities develop support systems and programs for entrepreneurs.

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The CEC project offers coaching, training and workshops, and networking infrastructure for the teams of community, economic and civic leaders — including MSU Extension educators — in these participating Michigan communities.

The eight participating community teams include: the Au Sable River Country (Iosco, Alcona, Crawford and Oscoda counties); Imlay City; the city of Sturgis; St. Ignace and Cedarville; the townships of Bath, Watertown and DeWitt; Barry County; Delta County; and the Tri-County Region (Manistee, Benzie and Mason counties).

The project convened with an Energizing Entrepreneurs Institute in Roscommon in late September. During the first year of the CEC project, communities will review support systems for entrepreneurs and gain a better understanding of their entrepreneurial pipeline.

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“The eight communities that comprise this network are making a tremendous commitment toward becoming more entrepreneurial,” said Barbara Fails, LPI Associate Director of Entrepreneurial Communities and project director. “Using our CEC framework, they will be able to share best practices across the network and learn from each other.”

The CEC project is based on four hallmarks of entrepreneurial communities that were developed from studying community-based models around the country, then leading a pilot project in 2007. Communities with strong support for entrepreneurs address social networks, resources, public policy and promote an entrepreneurial culture, Fails said.

More at www.landpolicy.msu.edu/modules.php?name=Pages&sp_id=484.

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