Smiles in Salina: Economic Development Training

July 24, 2015



The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) was recently hired by the Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations (KARDO) to provide training for 50+ members representing the state’s economic development organizations, SBDCs, Universities, and policy makers.

The full-day training focused on emerging trends in entrepreneurship education and the societal implications for better understanding, encouraging, and supporting entrepreneurial activity broadly.

Research points to the widening gap in economic participation as a threat to the vitality of our economy. This shift is not just being felt by those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. In fact, even as the middle class erodes, employers are increasingly lamenting the absence of adequately prepared individuals to fill positions that pay sustainable wages – the types of jobs that built the middle class.

The importance and urgency of entrepreneurship to our economic prosperity and stability is generally understood and accepted. Yet, while much is known about the inner workings of large established companies and small business management, much less is known about the entrepreneurial process. And this lack of understanding is severely limiting our ability to develop entrepreneurial attitudes behaviors and skills. It also limits our ability to create and support the positive economic outcomes that result from increased entrepreneurial activity.

Participants learned how and why much of what we have accepted as the norm in economic development is not working and the need for a shift in thinking, planning and community engagement models.

The program was designed to help economic development practitioners, policy makers, executive and administrative staff, and public facing/serving individuals understand the underlying beliefs and assumptions that drive the behavior of successful individuals. is a mindset that can empower ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.

The information was exactly what the organizations had to hear.
John R. Cyr, Executive Director
Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations