We’ve been fortunate enough to work with clients in a range of industries, delivering growth strategy consulting, helping them to define their community investment strategies and build organizations that are the obvious choice in the hearts and minds of their customers, employees and the community. Below is an example of one of our successful projects.
SUPPORTING ECONOMIC INCLUSION FOR WESTSIDE ATLANTA
Westside Atlanta is a community struggling with challenges common to urban neighborhoods across the country, including: poverty, homelessness, teen pregnancy, vacant housing, and rampant unemployment. The challenge moving forward will be to develop a community revitalization strategy that is supported by local leaders and the community residents, businesses, and other institutions.
Regionerate was hired by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to serve as lead consultant to coordinate and execute the overall development of a strategic plan and Westside economic analysis. Working closely with the Westside Economic Inclusion collaborative, an advisory group consisting of community residents, service providers, and other stakeholder groups, Regionerate led a team to conduct quantitative and qualitative assessments to identify the priority economic needs and appropriate strategies for improved economic outcomes on the Westside. Specific areas of focus included: (1) small business entrepreneurism; (2) entrepreneurial cultivation; (3) access to capital; (4) technical assistance; (5) networking opportunities; (6) individual economic empowerment; (7) financial self-sufficiency; (8) financial literacy; (9) workplace skills; and (10) family budgeting.
Regionerate uses a framework of economic transformation that depicts a regional economy as a master network of smaller collaborative networks. Communities need to prioritize investments that encourage purpose-driven networks that collaborate with each other. The networks work across five strategic focus areas:
- Entrepreneurs and Innovation: Networks to support early-stage entrepreneurs and second-stage companies.
- Career: New networks to create a more flexible and responsive set of options for individuals and companies.
- Emerging Clusters: Investments to enhance existing clusters and develop new clusters.
- Sustainable Communities: Investments in infrastructure to advance the community as a quality, connected place for future investment.
- Regional Brand: New, coherent stories of how the community leverages its strengths to transform its economy.
We focused our action plan on the linking and leveraging of assets, in particular, the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that links neighborhood businesses to the high growth regional economy. We linked place-making capabilities with entrepreneurship support for both existing neighborhood businesses and start-ups. Finally, through civic engagement, we leveraged the collective experiences of a diverse group of community citizens to create a new narrative about the Westside, one that focuses on its many strengths and community connections.