The City of Littleton pioneered its economic gardening program in 1989. We stopped providing any incentives or tax breaks to lure businesses to come to the community and began to invest in growing businesses locally. We believe our task is to create a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools they need to be competitive. This is not a quick fix. It will not solve large, long-term economic problems overnight. It is a long-term commitment by a community to develop its assets and focus its resources in a different way.
Youreconomy.org Small local companies source of jobs and wealth Click link to open stats Compare 2002 to 2008 Most jobs created by 1 and 2 stage companies Negative job creation by stage 4 companies
These are the three areas in which we believe the public sector can make a difference in creating a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs: information, infrastructure, and connections. I will briefly touch on the infrastructure and connections components of our program at the end of the presentation, but the rest of this presentation will primarily focus on what we do in the area of information. We believe that timely, reliable, and actionable information is what gives business owners the competitive advantage and ultimately increases the jobs and revenue they bring into the community.
Our information component can be divided into roughly three areas: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Business Support Services Customized Research Services
Subscribe to 10 commercial databases – corporate level information on markets, products, company intelligence, industry trends, etc.
Founded in January 1995 by two partners, ChurchPartner sells furniture and church supplies to churches and schools. Net revenues have increased 10% each year for the past five years, and they now have 13 employees. Around 75% of sales are generated through their website, although only about 15-20% of those sales are closed online; most are completed by phone. The company has an agreement with Office Depot whereby their clients get discounts on office supplies through Office Depot and ChurchPartner gets a percentage of the sales. They are now the only Christian-based group that has national account status with Office Depot.
Competing in the category of Entrepreneurship by organizations serving areas with populations under 50,000, the City of Littleton was a clear standout with Economic Gardening . Economic Gardening is an entrepreneurial approach to economic development. Created in 1987, the project uses sophisticated corporate level tools like database research, geographic information systems and search engine optimization, as well as cutting edge theories like complexity science, network theory and temperament to help entrepreneurial growth companies be competitive. Economic Gardening helps companies develop core strategies, understand market dynamics, create marketing lists and build management teams. In 20 years the employment base in Littleton has more than tripled from $6 million to over $21 million. Not one company was recruited during this time and not one penny was spent on incentives. Press: business week Rm News Nations cities weekly Civic.com u.s. economic development administration Governing magazine Western planner Colorado business Hubert humphrey institute at u. of minn Denver business journal The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is headquartered
Littleton, Colorado’s Economic Gardening Project “ An Entrepreneurial Approach to Economic Development”