Growing Our Own: Communities That Sustain Entrepeneurs
Sirolli Enterprise Facilitation Training is a bottom-up, person-centered, community-implemented method of entrepreneurial development has helped thousands of entrepreneurs make better decisions, including farmers and ranchers. The “Growing Our Own” Project provided training to 60 participants in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Participants included an agricultural producer with an idea for a new business or an expansion or diversification; professional agricultural advisors and several community leaders. The three training sessions (Helena, Montana; Clarkston, Washington; and Portland, Oregon) were held during the winter of 2001-2002 with a followup conference in Baker, Oregon, in October, 2002, attended by 19 participants. Although not yet implemented, the training had a major influence on beliefs and behaviors of participants and several have taken steps toward community commitment.
- Demonstrate and introduce a proven, simple, ethical, person-centered, grassroots philosophy and practice of fostering/nurturing entrepreneurs to interested professional agricultural advisors, entrepreneurial producers and community leaders.
Build positive, collaborative and synergistic relationships between professional agricultural advisors, civic leaders, and producers committed to enhancing environmental quality and stewardship, as well as the economic and social vitality and resiliency of their communities.
Build capacity of rural communities to create sound, profitable and viable businesses in all sectors of agriculture, and to take responsibility for the future of their own local economies.
Promote rural community stability and self-sufficiency by increasing income, diversification, quality of life (personal fulfillment) and employment opportunities.
As a result of the Sirolli training sessions, three facilitation groups have been organized; one in Montana and two in other states. They have hired facilitators for community involvement for thirty month periods, in accordance with the Sirolli plan.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The training had a major influence on the beliefs and behaviors of participants in regard to entrepreneurship, management, and the role of communities in creating a favorable environment for business to succeed. At the follow-up workshop, advice was provided on implementing community projects and included an extensive handout. Most participants joined an electronic listserv.