Overall, University of Illinois Extension's Building Entrepreneurial Communities initiative, supported by USDA's Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI), was designed to help each pilot community create the community infrastructure to support entrepreneurial development. While there is little doubt that a successful entrepreneur has the capacity to economically transform the local community, less apparent is the role that the local community plays in the success of the entrepreneur. Factors such as the local culture, existing support networks, access to capital, workforce issues, and the local educational infrastructure all appear to play a critical role.
Knox County, through a series of meetings, focused upon four specific goal areas:
- Recognition of entrepreneurship as a economic development strategy
- Developing tools to enhance entrepreneurship in the county
- Creating a culture that recognizes, supports, and celebrates entrepreneurs
- Promoting entrepreneurship education