A reader wrote to me about an influx of low-income people into his town, using subsidized housing and other community services. He said a town council member had talked about them as “a drain on resources” and “dead weight.”
I got angry when I read that. But it took me awhile to figure out the real reason.
My reply to the reader was just this:
What if the families with low income are actually your best asset, your potential entrepreneurs, and within a generation will be your business leaders?
And now we get to the real reason I got angry. Because this is my family’s story. My great-grandmother was a teacher who relied on subsidized housing, staying with families in the school district until the community banded together to build a tar paper shack for her to live in with her daughter. On the other side of the family, my grandfather moved his family through a series of run-down, borrowed farmhouses as he tried to recover financially from the great depression and serving in the second world war and the hard times immediately after.
Both of these people worked their way up to being self-sufficient and more, and their children became business and civic leaders in their communities.
Yes, times have changed, and people are different. That doesn’t change my original question:
What if the families with low income are actually your best asset, your potential entrepreneurs, and within a generation will be your business leaders? How would you treat them then?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.