'Going Local' Workshop Generates Potential Business Initiatives in Yellow Springs, Ohio
January 30, 2009 - On Friday, January 16, over 200 villagers from Yellow Springs, Ohio came together to learn about an alternative approach to economic development that focuses on nurturing and expanding the local and small business sector.
Over 70 residents returned on Saturday and Sunday for a hands-on local economic development workshop.
Participants first examined the results of a "leakage analysis" to understand where and how their community is losing income and jobs to outside businesses and towns. Next, they brainstormed a range of new local business opportunities to plug those leaks, and discussed the specific challenges and opportunities for moving the best ideas forward.
The Smart Growth Task Force and the Village Council hosted the events to provide a framework for an upcoming visioning effort, said Village Manager Mark Cundiff.
Villagers can move ahead immediately with the ideas sparked over the weekend, Shuman said. Most who attended the workshop reported feeling energized and expressed a strong desire to move ahead constructively rather than "just talking about it."
Shuman contends that small, locally-owned businesses are the key to a healthy and dynamic economy. "It's all about growing your economy through an expanded array and power of local businesses," he said. "This approach also empowers citizens in a way that traditional economic development does not."
"I believe the presence of 70 people in a town of this size for a two-and-a-half day workshop is remarkable evidence of commitment and what is possible," noted Shuman.