Economic gardening: helping entrepreneurs grow Utah’s economy


Last night, Ernst & Young presented Entrepreneur of the Year awards to nine Utah entrepreneurs who were recognized as being innovative and influential. This recognition is important because entrepreneurs are the engine of Utah’s economic prosperity.

Entrepreneurs are creative, determined, risk-taking people. They don’t just dream, they turn dreams into reality. Through their efforts, entrepreneurs drive Utah companies and government to be more innovative, efficient and cost-conscious, and they often help improve the quality of our daily lives.

Because of all this, it makes sense that government would do all it could to encourage entrepreneurial activity. Many cities and states around the nation have begun to do just that.

Cities like Littleton, Colo., and states like Florida, Georgia and Nebraska are using an inventive approach to economic development – an approach called “economic gardening” that is entrepreneur-centered.

The idea behind economic gardening is to give entrepreneurs and small businesses access to tools and information that help them grow their companies from promising startups to companies that contribute more consistently and more abundantly to local and state economies.

Economic gardening is all about fostering the growth of homegrown companies that have already planted their roots within a city or state, rather than hunting for and recruiting businesses in other locations that will come and go. This approach has proven to be very successful for governments that adopt it and dedicate themselves to it.

Utah has already started down this promising path by pursuing an economic gardening strategy in parts of rural Utah. These efforts are positive and should continue and expand throughout the state. Economic gardening can give entrepreneurs and small businesses a boost no matter where they operate in the state.

Since its birth, Utah has been known for its pioneering spirit. We should do even more to harness the power of that spirit by cultivating the soil of Utah’s economy so that entrepreneurs – and all Utah businesses – have greater opportunity to succeed.