Homegrown: Entrepreneurship in Your Community

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Homegrown is a program focused on building and strengthening your local entrepreneurial network.  It is a joint effort between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension, and the University of Missouri, Division of Extension. Homegrown can be tailored to community members or professionals with a shared interest in learning about entrepreneurship. The program offers:

  • Fact about entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and why they are important.
  • A close look at the local entrepreneurial community.
  • The opportunity for participants to identify the local entrepreneurial network.
  • Strategies to build network relationships.
  • Up to two guest entrepreneurs to share about their business and support network.

Entrepreneurship is a critical component of economic development as a key source of job creation, income growth, and poverty alleviation. Strengthening your local entrepreneurial network can enhance entrepreneurship and help your community realize the benefits of economic growth.

Research indicates weak entrepreneurial networks in much of rural America, and this problem is especially acute in regions that have traditionally relied on business attraction and retention as a rural economic development strategy.

This program will aid participants in creating a supportive network in rural areas so that when entrepreneurs are considering starting a business, they get supportive signals from key community leaders.

For groups of all sizes, often with a shared background or common professions, including lenders, lawyers, accountants, elected officials, local/regional economic development professionals, and educators. We also work with high school students and high school business clubs interested in understanding and developing entrepreneurial ecosystems.

We offer our Homegrown workshop either in two shorter sessions, often in the evening or a day-long session. Understand new and small businesses in your community. Learn how to use your knowledge, resources, and relationships to revitalize your community through entrepreneurship. Be part of a community-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters a vibrant and diverse economy.

We will cover the following content:

  • Facts about entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and why they are important.
  • Who are your local entrepreneurs, and who could be a local entrepreneur, including exploring your own ideas for a business?
  • The power of a network and how to strengthen it.
  • How to equitably support all entrepreneurs, including women and people of color through network development.
  • Community-specific entrepreneurial ecosystem content.

Participants will…

  1. Better understand entrepreneurship, particularly in their local community.
  2. See the breadth of the local entrepreneurial network and their role within that network.
  3. Identify actionable steps to strengthen and engage with their local entrepreneurial network more intentionally.

In your community. Your local Extension office will partner with you to host.



Program Sponsors


Funding Provided By

The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development and USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.


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