Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Business plan competition good for area growth"

I have been harsh on the Moscow-Pullman Daily News as of late, but full kudos to editor Steve McClure for his cogent explnation of the role of government in economic development in yesterday's edition:
No one wants to start throwing around thousands of dollars without a plan. In the world of business, success and failure often can be traced back to a solid game plan.

That's why the program sponsored by Washington State University, the Port of Whitman County and the Palouse Economic Development Council makes so much sense.

In the spirit of promoting business growth, the three organizations combined to put together a business plan competition for those folks who might want to get in touch with their entrepreneurial spirit.

The competition ended earlier this month and called for people to put together a plan for a business they hope to start. The idea was to help those individuals put ideas into action and give them a better understanding of what their business needs in order to survive.

While that might not attract a bunch of attention in comparison to more high-profile projects, it's a serious investment in economic development.

As Port Commissioner Bob Gronholz noted, "Even if we can get one or two start-ups in the county every other year from this competition it would be a great success."

For all the talk that's bandied about among government officials, their role in actual business growth is a support role. Government can create a climate that's open to new ideas and new investments. It can build up infrastructure that's attractive to companies, and it can create a clear path for prospective business owners to travel on the road to success.

Government also can put up roadblocks, particularly when it forgets what role it's assigned in this mix.

Economic development, though, doesn't come from the halls of government. It comes from individuals who put their ideas - and their money - on the line to break into the competitive marketplace.

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