In 2017, the City of Two Rivers hired a Madison-based consulting firm to assist with economic development strategy planning. Findings included recommendations to promote entrepreneurship in Two Rivers and leverage highly positive community advantages like the Lester Public Library.
Before we knew that more support for the business community would be part of the library's strategic plan, we had been thinking about starting a local networking group for entrepreneurs. We were looking for local involvement and had closely followed Two Rivers' efforts around economic development.
In introducing a new program to the community, Two Rivers BizStarts relied on the library's mission of "Read. Discover. Connect. Enrich." as a framework. We also wanted to be sensitive to established groups. There are, in fact, many groups that have been dedicated to supporting local business growth. Making this a library program and taking our direction from the library's mission ensures an emphasis on bringing resources and people together, and helping to raise awareness of what's available in the community.
In January and February 2018, Two Rivers BizStarts held discussions with many different organizations and leaders. Among these groups, BizStarts offered use of its name and processes. BizStarts is a 501(c)(3).
Our strategy is to align with the library's commitment to 21st century workforce skills by improving community and workforce development opportunities.
Local partners in this ecosystem include:
The program objectives include partnering with economic development organizations to create educational programming for building a business. The program's second objective is to promote library resources to the business community.
The library's resources highlighted through the program include:
Two Rivers BizStarts features meetings, workshops, and special events that highlight learning, collaboration, and networking opportunities. We primarily support small business startups, inherited businesses/businesses changing hands, bought from family member, freelancers, and students. We also support crafters, artists, musicians, cottage industries, and franchisees.
We invite expert guest speakers on far-ranging business topics and facilitate discussions of recorded or published content.
Each month, we invite attendees to collaborate and help solve problems, to share ideas and resources, and to create business documents and tools usable by everyone.
Give and receive feedback about your ideas, meet like-minded entrepreneurs, participate in business pitch competitions such as Light Up the Lakeshore, and more.
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