Brown, Cass, Henderson, Schuyler & Warren Counties

Photo for Brown, Cass, Henderson, Schuyler & Warren Counties

Our Goals

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.

Each of the local economic development organizations in Brown, Cass, Henderson, Schuyler and Warren counties was an active partner in this program, participating in training events and working to establish partnerships within the region that would allow key elements of the program to continue beyond the USDA grant.

With a limited number of local service providers, these more rural counties reached beyond their respective economic development organizations to establish partnerships with other organizations and service providers who could provide some level of ongoing support to entrepreneurship development. These partnerships are in evidence in the progress described below.

There continues to be a critical role for local leadership - setting the stage for high levels of collaboration, providing staff level support for local activities, and keeping entrepreneurship development as a vital part of the community’s broader economic development agenda.

In Brown, Cass, Henderson, Schuyler and Warren counties, goals were refined through training for the local development organizations over the span of two years and these counties have focused primarily on:

  • Creating a culture of support for entrepreneurs, particularly in terms of developing networks

Brown, Cass, Henderson, Schuyler & Warren Counties