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Nurturing "Local, Global" Entrepreneurs in WA

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Monday, November 17, 2014   

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Move over Shark Tank!

Washington entrepreneurs are ready to dive into new business ventures – and across the state, this is the week to get started.

The third annual Global Entrepreneurship Week has grown to include every county, and more than 200 workshops and classes.

Columbia County has something planned every day, to include launching an entrepreneur support program for adults and a ideation or brainstorming sessions for children.

Christine Jarski, economic development coordinator for Port of Columbia, says it's especially important for rural communities to engage the next generation.

"We feel that developing our local businesses is one of the primary ways that we can help grow our economy,” she says. “And then, also helping our youth to understand that if they should choose to stay in the community, there are opportunities for them."

Jarski says today's technology means young people don't have to leave their hometowns for good jobs and retirees can have successful second careers without having to migrate to find work.

In Okanogan County, the Northwest Native Development Fund is having its second Small Business Gala to honor not just business owners but those who are their best customers. Executive Director Ted Piccolo says every week is Entrepreneurship Week in northern Washington.

"For folks like us, we're looking around thinking, 'Well, join the party!'” he says. “It's what we do every day, working with microenterprise and small business."

Piccolo says his group also is congratulating a new group of Indianpreneurship graduates, who have taken a rigorous 10-week course to emerge with a business plan, and working to help market the area's Native American artists.

Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off Startup 365, billed as the state's year-round support network for re-energizing communities, says Maury Forman, state director of Global Entrepreneurship Week for the Washington State Department of Commerce.

"I can't say it enough, how important entrepreneurship is to rural communities,” he stresses. “You know, too many people think of economic development as recruiting a business. But we're not just looking to recruit businesses – we're also looking to grow our businesses from within."

Forman says first-year businesses created one million jobs, just last year.

Incidentally, there's even a town in Washington named Startup. It's in Snohomish County.





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