Communities Creating Their Own Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP) is a holistic facilitative process with the goals of attracting and retaining working age population and creating entrepreneurial environments that lead to community vitality. The ECAP project will engage community members to provide feedback and identify benchmarks which can be used to measure the changes occurring in their community. The ultimate long-term goal of this project is to help rural communities build capacity for long-term sustainable change through the implementation of entrepreneurial strategies related to the eight characteristics of entrepreneurial communities. The eight characteristics are:

  • Community Vision
  • Culture of Change
  • Leadership
  • Sense of Place
  • Infrastructure
  • Digitally Connected
  • Education/Workforce IQ
  • Entrepreneurial Support Systems

 

Impacts

The ECAP process brought together leaders and community members. Over 300 people participated in conversations to determine seven communities’ futures. Additionally, over 2200 people provided input through the discovery tool process. In each of the communities efforts/projects were identified to become more entrepreneurial. By engaging in ECAP, communities position themselves for success.

Communities identified efforts/projects to become more entrepreneurial. Examples include:

Good organization is important to the success of the ECAP process. Keys to success that were identified by the communities include:

  • Forming a Steering Team
  • Using an Outside Facilitator
  • Getting People to the Conversations
  • Creating and Sharing a Vision
  • Keeping People Engaged
  • Documenting the Process
  • Maintaining the Momentum
  • Celebrating Success

Bringing together diverse community leaders through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process builds capacity in eight vital areas of community development. Starting with the ECAP Discovery Tool, community members engaged in conversation, identified priorities and created action plans. ECAP was successful at engaging communities in conversation that in turn led to community ownership. The overall process was strengthened through continual community feedback.

Project Team

  • Charlotte Narjes (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Phyllis Schoenholz (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Nancy Eberle (Co-PI), (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Diane Vigna (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education & Human Sciences
  • Dennis Kahl, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • David Ulferts, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Rebecca Vogt, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Carroll Welte, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Jessica Jones, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Christina Bartels, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Mary Emery, South Dakota State University, Sociology and Rural Studies
  • Gary Hamer, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development
  • Roger Meeks, USDA Rural Development
  • Rick Nelsen, Nebraska Public Power District – Economic Development
  • Keith Ellis, Nebraska Public Power District – Economic Development
  • Tim O’Brien, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Milan Wall, Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Odee Ingersoll, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Business Development Center

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Exploring Community Readiness to Build Capacity
    June 11-14, 2017 | Big Sky, Montana
  • Michigan Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference
    Creating Entrepreneurial Communities
    October 5-6, 2016 | Port Huron, MI
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Creating Resilient Communities through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process
    June 26-29, 2016 | Burlington, VT
  • Nebraska Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference
    Creating Entrepreneurial Communities
    April 19-20, 2016 | McCook, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Creating Hope and Inspiring Vision in Communities through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    September 30, 2014 | Nebraska City, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    October 9, 2014 | Broken Bow, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    October 14, 2014 | Scottsbluff, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Charlotte Narjes, cnarjes1@unl.edu