Expanding the Region's Entrepreneur Resources
18 Mar 2021
Small business owners and entrepreneurs are at the heart of the American economy. The time, talent and resources to start and grow a business are important and necessary to those brave and ambitious enough to take their dream and turn it into reality. In order to provide our community and region the most comprehensive access to resources, Growth Dimensions Economic Development consulted with SourceLink® and is now poised to launch a regional tool, known as SourceFinder™, later this year.
Starting with a grant from the Ewing Kauffman Foundation, Growth Dimensions laid the ground work to begin the implementation of this valued tool. With the monetary support and expertise offered through the Greater Rockford Growth Partnership and Transform Rockford, all pieces fell into place to begin bringing SourceFinder to life.
Who is SourceLink?
In 2003, SourceLink was founded at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. From there it moved to the national scene and is now used in 100+ U.S. communities where it supports, connects, empowers and measure all aspects of a community's entrepreneurs.
Additionally, SourceLink has grown to provide more than 4,500 resource organizations. You can meet their network HERE.
What is SourceFinder?
SourceFinder, a product offered through SourceLink, offers a unique print representation of available, regional resources that serve local entrepreneurs. Through an innovative infographic design, aspiring and existing business owners can readily navigate the resource maze to find the one they need, along with key contact information to complete that valuable business connection.
What are the Steps to Launching SourceFinder?
Complete Launch of SourceFinder will be a three-step approach.
On March 25, 2021, Growth Dimensions will have an initial kickoff meeting with SourceLink to identify key small business resources within the region.
SourceLink will conduct a two-hour virtual workshop with community resource providers. This workshop explores the uniqueness of the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem and sets expectations for understanding different kinds of entrepreneurs and their needs. During the meeting, providers will be asked to fill out a standard SourceLink survey that identifies critical information about the resources that they provide. These surveys will be used to design the SourceFinder poster graphic. This meeting can serve not only to develop a resource guide but also to lay the foundation for creating a better resource network within the community.
In all direct conversations with resource organizations, SourceLink personnel will continually ask the question, “who else should be involved” to assist in finding the smaller, local organizations that play a role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Upon completion of the asset mapping, SourceLink will generate a six- to eight-page report outlining components of a healthy ecosystem, highlighting key findings and providing recommendations for improving the infrastructure of entrepreneurial support.
When will this be Completed?
Our goal is to complete the asset mapping by July 31, 2021, with it being launched and made available to the public in the 3rd Quarter of 2021. Once completed, we will send out futher communication.
Below, you can find examples of the SourceFinder poster/chart and Asset Mapping Report.