Brower: Building strong communities, one entrepreneur at a time
Grand Enterprise Initiative
It’s been more than seven years since I was the publisher and editor at the Grand County newspapers. And yet, people want to know: Brower, what is it that you’re doing these days?
When I say I’m an Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative I can see that I’ve really raised more questions than answers. Many times, the facial expression I see could be summarized by a large and emphatic question mark.
So I simplify it. I say I’m a business management coach. I provide free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. Yes … all of Grand County.
Free? Yes, it’s free because the truth is that many of the people who need and want help with their business idea or with their existing business simply don’t have the money to go out and hire a business consultant. Many of those consultants charge high fees.
Confidential? Sometimes it’s difficult for some people to reach out for help. They worry doing so could be seen as a sign of weakness or vulnerability. So, I don’t divulge that I’m working with a person until they give me permission to do so. Many times, people are protective about their ideas or plans. For competitive reasons, they might not want the world to know what they are thinking about, so I keep it to myself. Even more critical, if someone has shared an idea with me and I go blabbing about it, and they decide not to pursue it, then they might look like a failure before they’ve even started! So, I keep my mouth shut.
The business management coaching I offer is guided by a methodology I learned through the Sirolli Institute. In other words, I’ve had training and I went through a year-long mentorship in the Sirolli method of Enterprise Facilitation. If you are curious about the approach I take, go to SirolliInstitute.com and the first thing that pops up is a TedX talk given by Ernesto Sirolli, the founder of this methodology. By the way, there are enterprise facilitation programs in place around the world, including places such as Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
But if what I offer is free, then how do I get paid? The towns of Grand County, Grand County, Freeport-McMoran and the Grand Foundation all have funded the program for the last three years. Marise Cipriani, owner of Granby Ranch, and the town of Granby were the initial funders of the program in its first year. This is a nonprofit, community-based effort. I am overseen by a volunteer, five-member board that includes elected and appointed town and county officials. I also work with a volunteer resource board that helps me meet the needs of clients.
I work with local chambers of commerce, DiAnn Butler, the Economic Development Coordinator for Grand County, and many local businesses.
Behind this effort is a belief that by helping businesses start and succeed we can build stronger communities in Grand County. While some people might call this economic development, I like to think of our work as a hybrid of economic development and community development. Through this work we are helping to grow and sustain businesses. But there’s more to it than that.
The truth is, strong communities are built by having people who can support themselves doing what they want to do while living where they want to live. Our motto is: Building strong communities, one entrepreneur at a time.
Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative, a community-based community development effort that helps new and existing businesses in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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