One of the core tenets of economic development is entrepreneurial development and both the BMDA and Chamber’s Strategic Plans identify the support of our community’s entrepreneurs as a priority.
The BMDA’s approach to entrepreneurial development has been to serve as a feeder rather than a leader meaning we support entrepreneurs in their efforts their businesses rather than dictate to them how they should do so. We do so by first supporting & sponsoring events that bring entrepreneurs together such as those organized by Start Bismarck or Mandan’s Economic Opportunity & Prosperity (EOP) Committee Business StartUp 101 in hopes those events will spur economic activity. If an entrepreneur has a specific need, perhaps finance or real estate related, that is when we’ll step in and actively assist.
The Chamber’s approach has been to both supporting and encouraging has been broader. Most notably, the Chamber facilitates the Lemonade Day Program by which we attempt to encourage entrepreneurship in our community’s youth by setting up and operating their first business; a lemonade stand. That program has seen tremendous growth going from 360 participants in 2017 to 556 this year. Additionally, the Chamber uses it’s wider reach and multiple communication channels to promote those entrepreneurial members growing their businesses right here in Bismarck-Mandan.
However, there are still barriers to entrepreneurial development such as unorganized resource network and a general lack of support in the community. As one organization, we believe that we can address those concerns better than we have in the past. More specifically, we aim to do that by the following:
1. Continue to support events that bring together our community’s entrepreneurs in hopes that will spur even more entrepreneurial activity.
2. Reduce the confusion of knowing where to seek entrepreneurial support by having one business community organization instead of two.
3. Utilize the larger, combined reach and means of communications of one organization to promote our community’s entrepreneurs.
Update on the Restructure Process
In a recent vote, both BMDA and Chamber Memberships voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed merger. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has approved the merger as well and it appears as though we are on our way to fulfilling all the legal requirements of the proposed merger. Finally, we continue working with KK BOLD to develop the restructured organization’s new logo and brand in support of the name “Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC” which was approved by both Boards.
If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to get ahold of me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 222-5530. You can also find previous editions of the BMDA / Chamber Restructure Series at http://bmda.org/news/
Brian Ritter, President/CEO
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