Imagine a small town with nearly no local businesses. All the downtown storefronts are empty, except for a couple of antique and craft stores. There is practically no local shopping to promote. Kids move away as soon as they graduate.
|Ames, Oklahoma, could fit this description:
empty storefronts, no local shopping.
One Business Alliance for Local Living Economies Conference attendee said that described her town. She felt from what she had learned at BALLE, that entrepreneur training for youth was her logical starting point.
Since we were sitting in the “Shift Your Shopping” session, I wanted to find some starting point she could use to trigger changes. I suggested they could create a locally-crafted holiday ornament, limited edition and dated with the current year. Use the sales to raise funds to support entrepreneur training. It could be sold locally, but the real potential is in selling to former residents. People who grew up there may have enough local tie to want to support the project. She can track them down in online networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, and through local alumni/reunion groups. And after a few years of ornament sales and then entrepreneur training for students, I’m betting they’ll have some local businesses to promote.
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