Community Mapping: Defining Assistance for One Year Old Businesses
Submitted by Braden Croy - Syracuse University
Entrepreneurship across Northeast State College has been growing in the past few years because of how entrepreneurial the community and the Governor has become. Governor Bill Haslum, developed the Drive for 55 initiative which works to help the state reach a 55% college degree recipient rate. The initiative has been a wonderful boon for community colleges because of the students’ ability to get help with financing tuition and books.
One of the first steps for Northeast State CC was summarizing all of their initiatives. They came up with the mission: Access, Completion, Community.
Northeast State CC took the President Pledge and it has worked out great for them. If you’re not familiar with NACCE’s Presidents Pledge it includes:
- Create or Expand Internal & External Teams Dedicated to Entrepreneurship
- Increase Entrepreneurs' Engagement in Community Colleges
- Engage in Industry Cluster Development
- Leverage Both Community College and Community Assets to Spur Innovation and Job Creation
- Create Buzz and Broad Exposure of your College's Commitment to Entrepreneurship
Lemonade was made out of the lemons Northeast State CC received. The college was given the old county's jail house, sheriff’s office, parking garage, and administrative building which had been severely damaged by flooding. The county, local banks, and the community college helped fund the renovation of the building. After the renovations it looks beautiful. Taking Saras’ effectuation to heart, Northeast State CC has made a crazy quilt of partners using the RCAM expansion as the catalyst.
With a lot of brainstorming, Northeastern realized they need to help their citizens think past the economic destruction plant closings and lost manufacturing can cause. They were able to leverage their assets and access as a community college to find new ways to help unemployed individuals.
Out of these discussions and brainstorming sessions, they came up with an ecosystem map. Their map is a community within a geographic region, composed of stakeholders working together to promote and support newly created businesses. From this definition they were able to use the Google Fusion tool to create a physical map of their support and entrepreneurial resources. The map appears to be very useful in helping entrepreneurs and others locate businesses and resources near them.
Northeast has also come up with a mind map of their entrepreneurial ecosystem. The map has provided an interactive method for drilling down into the specific actors in their ecosystem. FreeMind powers their map.
After all of this mapping, the question becomes, what does a business need that has been around for a year?
Northeast uses a DACUM, a job analysis workshop. The DACUM process uses live interaction with entrepreneurs to answer what should be taught and what is currently taught. You must first start with an occupational definition. As a group, attendees were able to come up with a list of duties and tasks for the community. Their group decided entrepreneurs needed to know how to:
Manage their business
Document and organize business flow
Grow the business
Develop advertising/marketing process
Identify potential innovation
Manage human resources
The saying you don’t know what you don’t know, couldn’t be truer for entrepreneurs. The mapping process is about helping entrepreneurs and the community understand what they don’t know. The Northeast mapping method is a simplistic, yet powerful, method to help entrepreneurs scale their awareness of critical business tasks. Key to making these assessments work is the type of vocabulary used. Not all entrepreneurs can be expected to know fancy accounting or legal jargon.