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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: A new thought, a new question.

Posted by Elwin Green on November 18, 2012 at 3:40 PM



Have you ever had something - an idea, a concept, a notion - just hanging out in the outskirts of your mind, half in shadows, lingering, loitering, but not coming fully into the light to become an actual thought?


And then have you had it suddenly step into the light and crystallize into a thought, surprising you with its clarity while at the same time bringing a sense of relief that you finally know what you're thinking?


That just happened with me.


The thing that was hanging around on the outskirts of my mind was a vague discomfort with the Homewood Children's Village. In general, I support the idea of making Homewood a place, as HCV's slogan says, "Where every child succeeds." But there has been a "but" there, over in the corner.


Just now, I was thinking about the idea, being pushed by HCV Pres/CEO Derrick Lopez, of designating a specific area of Homewood as a children's zone, with a special emphasis on providing a safe and nurturing environment for children.


And thinking about that brought my half-formed notion into the light to become a thought.


This is the thought: As a childless person, I feel dissed. I feel devalued because I don't have kids and am not focused on them.


Please understand that I am not criticizing HCV here. I am observing that HCV has become a major participant in the conversations about Homewood's future and that their (absolutely legitimate) focus on kids drives a lot of those conversations in that direction.


Which makes me want to ask, "But what about our adults?" Where is the conversation about meeting what may be their number one need - creating jobs?


I want to create jobs. I do not want government to create jobs. I do not want to beg some Fortune 500 corporation to come to Homewood to create jobs. I do not want to demand that when an outside developer does a project in Homewood, that they give residents jobs. I want to create jobs. Me. Myself.


Where is the table in Homewood at which to have the conversation about building a business that creates jobs? I see none.


There has been talk about creating a business association in Homewood. I attended a meeting once, about setting one up, and have been eager to participate. But that was a couple of years ago, and it never got off the ground. No one has put in the work needed to get it off the ground.

I am excited about Urban Innovation21's initiative to create a business zone in Homewood. Maybe it will light enough of a sustainable fire to make Homewood into a cauldron of entrepreneurship.

But whether it does or not, I need to build a couple of businesses. And I need to sit with other business owners from time to time to talk about the work of building a business. So, with or without Urban Innovation21, I need to be part of a Homewood business association.

Does that mean I need to create it?

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Reply Bernadette
4:51 PM on November 18, 2012 
Many share your senitments. "Discomfort" is gracious.......
Reply Jomari Peterson
5:08 PM on November 18, 2012 
Well, I am one of the companies that is starting up in Homewood. For me, my needs are a little different than businesses that are currently operating in the area. Therefore, I don't know how involved with a business association I would be.
However, entrepreneurial MEETUPs via MEETUP or something would be something nice to have.
In truth, unless there are some mad crazy programmers or hackers or coders in Homewood that someone can introduce me to, I imagine that most of my job creation will be from the training and development of the newest generations. This is not because I don't want to help adults in Homewood, but the kind of business I am creating requires a skillset that I have not encountered in Homewood, overall. Thus places like HCV are providing a platform for developing the talent I would need.
I also believe Urban Innovations introduction into the community with their grant program and involvement will also provide a foundation for a lot of other things to initiate and gain traction.
Reply Elwin Green
8:24 PM on November 18, 2012 
Ms. Bernadette - Thanks for responding. Would you care to elaborate?
Reply Elwin Green
8:34 PM on November 18, 2012 
Mr. Peterson - I'd love an entrepreneurial MEETUP! I'm not hung up on a specific format for meeting or on a specific agenda; I just feel the need to be around people who want to produce stuff, who want to sell stuff, who know what it means to profit or die - and who create (or expect to create) jobs.
I am on meetup.com as Elwin G. - if you set up a biz meetup, please message me!
Reply Kiva
9:02 PM on November 18, 2012 
Elwin Green says...
Ms. Bernadette - Thanks for responding. Would you care to elaborate?