EG2008 John Grace And Jane Robinson


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2008 Economic Gardening Gathering in Steamboat: John Grace And Jane Robinson

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EG2008 John Grace And Jane Robinson

  1. 1. ECONOMIC GARDENING An example of one style of Economic Gardening from ‘Down Under’ Illawarra R D A
  2. 2. Where do we come from? The Illawarra region: 50 miles South of Sydney Beautiful coastal region – but with heavy industrial and coal mining heritage 3 main population centres: Wollongong City - 195,000 people Shellharbour City - 62,000 people Kiama Municipality - 20,000 people
  3. 3. Where is Shellharbour?
  4. 4. Steel and Coal
  5. 5. Wollongong Boat Harbour Gerringong Beach and township - Kiama
  6. 6. Shellharbour – old village and Boatharbour Shellharbour Village
  7. 7. The SEA CLIFF Bridge
  8. 8. <ul><li>Economic Background </li></ul><ul><li>Regional economy dominated by Wollongong City and Port </li></ul><ul><li>Kembla. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional industries: Steel-making and Coal mining </li></ul><ul><li>Company town mentality. </li></ul><ul><li>Savage restructuring of steel and coal industries during </li></ul><ul><li>1980’s and 1990’s. </li></ul><ul><li>Since 1980s, recognised need to re-invent the regional </li></ul><ul><li>economy. </li></ul><ul><li>Even in boom times Illawarra suffers from high </li></ul><ul><li>unemployment. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Shellharbour City </li></ul><ul><li>A fast-growing residential city located close to a larger, </li></ul><ul><li>more industrialised city (Wollongong) </li></ul><ul><li>Commuting distance to Sydney (1 ½ to 2 hours) </li></ul><ul><li>Narrow industry base - retail, wholesale, hospitality, </li></ul><ul><li>service industries </li></ul><ul><li>Low workforce self-containment rate </li></ul><ul><li>High unemployment, including youth unemployment </li></ul><ul><li>Parts of community in genuine poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Limited available industrial land / Unsuitability </li></ul><ul><li>for large-scale industrial activity </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging micro/small/ </li></ul><ul><li>home-based business sector. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>History of Shellharbour Economic Gardening project </li></ul><ul><li>In late 2004 IACC began a literature review relating to </li></ul><ul><li>economic development ‘best practice’ around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Search for strategies that would empower the local </li></ul><ul><li>community to help grow the Illawarra economy. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on growing local jobs for local people. </li></ul><ul><li>Found some startling evidence about in effectiveness of </li></ul><ul><li>some traditional economic development strategies, and </li></ul><ul><li>about the relative importance of small business growth </li></ul><ul><li>(Birch, Burgess, Maples etc). </li></ul><ul><li>IACC formed the view that a more balanced approach </li></ul><ul><li>was needed – not just relying on efforts to attract big </li></ul><ul><li>businesses to relocate. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Research in Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Unknown to us, others were doing research on </li></ul><ul><li>entrepreneurship strategies and preparing to implement </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Gardening in Australia. </li></ul><ul><li>As we were in the process of designing our project Dr Roy </li></ul><ul><li>Powell was already beginning to implement his strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>Professor Steve Garlick had undertaken an 18 year </li></ul><ul><li>research project into the key drivers of economic growth </li></ul><ul><li>in 94 Australian regions. His findings are important to the </li></ul><ul><li>development of new economic development strategy: </li></ul><ul><li>- Most important drivers of economic growth are </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Human Capital and </li></ul><ul><li>Enterprising Human Capital . </li></ul><ul><li>- One of the least effective drivers is </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional Intervention . </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Our aim - </li></ul><ul><li>To identify a strategy that could be used by local organisations to achieve tangible results: </li></ul><ul><li>IACC was a small community-based organisation, not </li></ul><ul><li>equipped to play a major role in economic ‘hunting’. </li></ul><ul><li>How could we have a meaningful, positive influence on </li></ul><ul><li>the Illawarra region’s economic development? </li></ul><ul><li>We wanted to influence the ‘quality of growth’ – </li></ul><ul><li>economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. </li></ul><ul><li>We had a basic concept that it would be better to </li></ul><ul><li>promote growth from ‘within’ - Growth of a type and </li></ul><ul><li>scale that could be influenced by local practitioners. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Attraction to the Economic Gardening concept </li></ul><ul><li>Identified Economic Gardening as a strategy with a </li></ul><ul><li>potential ‘good fit’ for the local environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Contacted Chris Gibbons for more information. </li></ul><ul><li>Began discussions with potential partners to test </li></ul><ul><li>the concept, and to initiate a pilot project. </li></ul><ul><li>Shellharbour City Council expressed the strongest </li></ul><ul><li>interest and became the lead partner. </li></ul><ul><li>Commenced design work on the pilot project and </li></ul><ul><li>began searching for funding. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Beginning the project </li></ul><ul><li>The challenge of funding: </li></ul><ul><li>In Australia, local government does not receive sales tax </li></ul><ul><li>revenue. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite this, Shellharbour City Council was convinced to </li></ul><ul><li>support the development of an Economic Gardening project. </li></ul><ul><li>Jane Robinson also prepared a successful grant application </li></ul><ul><li>to the Federal Government. </li></ul><ul><li>Between these contributions and other partnership funds </li></ul><ul><li>the Economic Gardening project was able to begin in </li></ul><ul><li>November 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2007 the NSW State government also decided to </li></ul><ul><li>provide some financial assistance to the project. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Beginning the project (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>Project design: </li></ul><ul><li>One of the strengths of Economic Gardening in the USA is </li></ul><ul><li>its clever use of market information to help give businesses </li></ul><ul><li>a competitive edge. </li></ul><ul><li>Compared to Australia, economic development </li></ul><ul><li>practitioners in the USA have access to market information </li></ul><ul><li>resources that are: </li></ul><ul><li>- More readily available </li></ul><ul><li>- Much cheaper </li></ul><ul><li>- More detailed </li></ul><ul><li>We had to design a program that was initially much less </li></ul><ul><li>focused on the provision of market information. </li></ul><ul><li>Australian business owners are not generally inclined to </li></ul><ul><li>seek help to grow their businesses. </li></ul><ul><li>We designed a program that would give us a ‘critical </li></ul><ul><li>mass’ of businesses to begin work with. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Economic Gardening program – Shellharbour </li></ul><ul><li>Building strong networks </li></ul><ul><li>An ideal platform to launch Economic Gardening was created by Shellharbour Council in 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>The Shellharbour Small Business Network, meets every month, with between 70 and 120 business owners attending each meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>IACC also operates the Wollongong Small Business Club . </li></ul><ul><li>These large networks have provided excellent opportunities to plant the seeds of the Economic Gardening idea, and to encourage business owners to actively participate. </li></ul>
  17. 17. EG Shellharbour (continued) 2. The BOOT CAMP - an intensive, full-day business workshop. Activities are closely observed to help the team identify business operators who will benefit from the program.
  18. 18. EG Shellharbour (continued) 3. Business HEALTH CHECK offered to identified businesses. Advice provided by the financial consultant to the EG team from about the financial strength of businesses.
  19. 19. <ul><li>EG Shellharbour (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>4. ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORKSHOPS offered to </li></ul><ul><li>identified businesses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business Planning for Growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial Management for a Growing Business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysing Your Customer-Base and Target Market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding the value of your services/products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced Marketing Techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Succeeding in E-Business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leadership & People Skills for Business . </li></ul></ul>Workshops are delivered by successful business people with expertise in these specialised areas.
  20. 20. <ul><li>EG Shellharbour (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>5. Follow-up individual Business Coaching after each </li></ul><ul><li>workshop: </li></ul><ul><li>Business owners chosen to participate in the </li></ul><ul><li>Entrepreneurship Workshops are entitled to a 1 ½ hour </li></ul><ul><li>business coaching session after workshop. </li></ul><ul><li>Coaching is also done by successful business people . </li></ul><ul><li>Coaching is usually done at the person’s place of business. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>EG Shellharbour (continued) </li></ul><ul><li>6. Specialised market research </li></ul><ul><li>Business owners participating in the full EG program are </li></ul><ul><li>offered subsidised rental of direct marketing lists, and </li></ul><ul><li>assistance with preparing campaigns. </li></ul><ul><li>Council team members provide assistance with the </li></ul><ul><li>interpretation of market data, which includes the use of a </li></ul><ul><li>GIS based system ( Informed Decisions ). </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of readily available </li></ul><ul><li>data in Australia to use </li></ul><ul><li>with GIS (mostly 2006 Census) </li></ul>
  22. 22. The Team Jane & John – Project management and design Bob Ashford – Coordinating consultant Juliet Scrine - Marketing Dick Bradley – Business planning, benchmarking and finance Andrew Thornberry – e - business and IT
  23. 23. <ul><li>Is Economic Gardening working in Shellharbour? </li></ul><ul><li>Our goals : </li></ul><ul><li>A community that recognises and rewards entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>Resilient, skilled, high-growth businesses </li></ul><ul><li>A more self-sufficient local economy </li></ul><ul><li>Local jobs for local people! </li></ul><ul><li>Results so far: </li></ul><ul><li>Gradual cultural change – interest in entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity of businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Business improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Jobs </li></ul>
  24. 24. Diverse group of Participating Businesses Some examples: Capital Aircraft Services Avionics and gas turbine specialists
  25. 25. Healthy Earth Fertilisers Fertiliser manufacturers for sustainable agriculture and horticulture
  26. 26. Cooks C onfectionery Confectionery manufacturers and wholesalers
  27. 27. COSMO LIGHTING Lighting engineers, manufacturers and retailers
  28. 28. Landscape and Commercial Photographer
  29. 29. Corporate promotional management - Cash-back programs - Sweepstakes and competition administration
  30. 30. Boat manufacturers and rental franchisors
  31. 31. Specialists in converting coaches into motor homes (RVs)
  32. 32. Specialist retailers of car audio, video, security, navigation and home theatre – retail outlet and e business
  33. 33. A to Z Embroidery Commercial embroidery – corporate logos
  34. 34. Aircraft Maintenance Centre Commercial Light Aircraft Maintenance
  35. 35. <ul><li>Economic Gardening in Shellharbour </li></ul><ul><li> …… .an evolving process </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t assume that we’ve got it right yet. </li></ul><ul><li>We still have problems to solve. </li></ul><ul><li>We keep learning and trying new things. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Creating a virtual entrepreneur community
  37. 37. <ul><li>Developing our own ‘home grown’ resources </li></ul><ul><li>In April 2008 we began production of our own series of </li></ul><ul><li>business training videos. </li></ul><ul><li>In response to an identified need for ‘best practice’ </li></ul><ul><li>learning resources for business owners and their staff. </li></ul><ul><li>There isn’t much Aussie training material available (most </li></ul><ul><li>business training videos comes from Britain or USA). </li></ul>
  38. 38. Thank you We are grateful to many people for persevering with us as we tried to implement a strategy that was very different to traditional economic development practices in Australia. (In particular Shellharbour City Council who dared to go where other Councils couldn’t be bothered to tread) Our special thanks to Chris Gibbons who inspired us to try Economic Gardening in ‘our patch’! Illawarra R D A