Inclusive innovation efforts include helping cities and communities increase the number of new businesses being formed and small businesses/ social enterprises growing that have a material impact on the local economy (innovation) particularly among currently disconnected, disenfranchised communities (inclusion).
Target outcomes include:
- Growing the number of locally owned small businesses in the community;
- Increasing livable wage employment opportunities within the knowledge economy;
- Attracting more capital investment into the local innovation economy;
- Fostering more enterprises led and owned by women and entrepreneurs of color;
- Contributing to increased business activity and density in under-developed commercial corridors;
- Strengthening internal networks among local entrepreneurs and the broader business community as well as the connection between the local micropolitan innovation ecosystem and the proximate metro innovation ecosystem; and
- Increasing media visibility for these efforts locally, statewide and, ultimately, nationally.
Questions to be addressed by communities striving to foster inclusive innovation:
What are effective strategies for recruiting and retaining next generation problem solvers (including engaging a diverse cross-section of local citizens and opportunity youth)? How can we identify, develop and support innovative leaders/change-makers and business entrepreneurs from low-income communities of color and under-connected micropolitans/ rural communities? How do we make sure that local entrepreneurial activity increases opportunity in, and improves services to, all neighborhoods in a city versus one isolated geographic area? (i.e. how do you harness your city’s entrepreneurial/innovative talent for the greater good?) What programs, physical spaces, events, and investment strategies spark innovation and help accelerate the growth and connection of local civic entrepreneurs? How can we better connect and align economic and community development policy (at local, statewide and national levels) to strengthen local entrepreneurial ecosystems? How can we make this important work more visible and help to inspire further action and support?