Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Small business entrepreneurship

The demise of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram has been painful to watch. Maine's newspaper of record has become a fish wrap, rather than a source for news, of late.

One of the few writers left worth reading is the young and talented, Justin Ellis, who writes the weekly edgy, hip, NXT: The Next Generation. Ellis, who I know from personal experience has impeccable musical tastes, and knows his way around a turntable, has an interesting column in yesterday's PPH, about young entrepreneurs in Portland, particularly those not encumbered by small spaces.

Ellis features Z-Fabrics, located in the tiniest of storefronts. Not hindred by close quarters, owner Mary Zarate utilizes her "personal touch, good humor and strong sense of style"to create a place that according to the article, has "become Portland's favorite source for hip fabrics."

[Z-Fabrics; Congress Street & Franklin Avenue, Portland]

Reading Ellis' article reminded me how important it is not to overlook entrepreneurship, and the encouragement of small business options for those who have the requisite skills to succeed. In fact, the most vibrant communities in Maine, economically, have a healthy mix of entrepreneurs, young, and not so young.

2 comments:

Brian Kelsey said...

Absolutely! I hope that workforce development officials at the state and federal levels will eventually come around to your conclusion.

bizdirector said...

I appreciate your comment, Brian.

I'm not holding my breath on the state (at least my home state), or federal govts suddenly going entrepreneurial on us. My experience in the brief time I've been in the field (2+ years) has revealed that there is very little innovative thinking, particularly among people that have been in bureaucratic models for any length of time. Many know no other way of thinking.

As an entrepreneur, I understand entrepreneurship, and the requisite skills that go with it. For those who've spent most, or all of their work life in govt systems, they have no experiential grasp of what entrepreneurship is, which is the crux of the problem, systemically, IMHO.

My focus is on very localized programs, modeled on grass roots models of organizing. These seem to be effective. The downside, however, is that it is hard to have a large impact. Now if we could get other areas/regions onboard with this model, then it might be possible to have a larger effect.