This year’s Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference took place in East Tawas, Michigan, Oct. 8-9, and welcomed more than 120 individuals into the community to learn about the best way to encourage entrepreneurship in Michigan. Michigan State University Extension has been involved in helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses for many years. We created the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities program in Michigan approximately eight years ago in an effort to educate communities on the various tools and resources available to help them help entrepreneurs grow in their communities.
The interesting thing about the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference when compared to other conferences is that each of the breakout sessions took place in various businesses throughout the community. This gave the attendees a chance to experience the entrepreneurial spirit in that community as well as the valuable lessons taught by the session leaders.
According to Frank Gublo, Michigan State University Extension educator, “East Tawas really wanted to make this something, and the local people promoted it and helped work to get people out to it, and the local enthusiasm from the people in the town was beyond anything we’ve seen before.”
To add to the excitement, colleagues from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension attended with the purpose of launching a multi-state collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and Michigan State University Extension. We hope that both programs can learn a lot from each other as we move forward in this partnership!