Archive of ‘Economic Development’ category

SEDAC continues its Open for Business events Monday, Feb. 27 at Georgetown Public Library

Aquaponics Entrepreneur Finds Food for Growth at Sussex Resource Cluster

Georgetown, DE.  February 17, 2011. It’s always good for Southern Delaware when a dynamic entrepreneur has an advanced idea that fits well into the region’s existing strengths. And Pennsylvanian Robert Weening has exactly that beneficial combination in mind, pairing innovative science with agricultural production. He sees agriculturally strong Sussex County as an excellent place to create his business, which centers around the growing field of “aquaponics.”

 

“Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. In aquaponics, you grow fish and plants together in one integrated, soilless system. The fish waste provides a food source for the plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in,” Weening explained.  “Aquaponics produces safe, fresh, organic vegetables and fish. When aquaponics is combined with a controlled environment greenhouse, premium quality crops can be grown on a year-round basis while producing virtually no waste products.”

 

The exciting aspect of Weening’s business plan is its job creation goals. “My plans are to move from Pennsylvania to Sussex County by the end of the summer and be in production by the end of the year,” said Weening. “I plan to start out small, working as a family business, and expand over time, which will involve hiring several employees.”

 

The challenge for Mr. Weening was navigating a new economic terrain while trying to plant the seeds of his new business. He  needed a comprehensive source of information to help map the plans for his Sussex County venture. Weening found it by attending  one of a series of free resource cluster workshops called “Sussex County is Open For Business,” an event that creates a one-stop experience with a number of financial, educational and consulting resources to help beginning entrepreneurs and existing companies looking to expand.

 

Instead of trying to make individual introductory appointments with these resource providers, Weening could immediately interface with many of the pivotal federal, state and county services and consultants guiding businesses in Sussex County. Then he could make appointments to follow up with the particular providers to help him achieve his goals.

 

Participating organizations and agencies include Delaware Center for Enterprise Development-DSU, Delaware Economic Development Office, Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership (DEMEP), Delaware Small Business & Technology Development Center, Delaware State Treasury, DTCC-Entrepreneur Center, First State Community Action Agency, Job Center of Delaware Libraries, Southern Delaware Tourism, SCORE Delaware, Sussex County Economic Development Office, U.S. Small Business Administration, and YWCA-Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship.

 

“’Sussex County Is Open For Business’ was a great way to meet with the local government,” Weening related. “Working as a team they answered many questions and pointed me toward valuable resources I can use to achieve my goal of opening a profitable business in their community.”

 

The workshop series was developed by Sussex County Economic Development Action Committee (SEDAC), a nonprofit partnership of business people, educators and government officials to further retention, expansion, creation and attraction of better business for Sussex County. SEDAC’s goal is creating resources to support existing businesses, fostering entrepreneurship, facilitating improvements to infrastructure and nurturing a well-trained workforce.

 

The resource cluster events have to date served more than 20 business people, helping them clarify their plans and find ways to accomplish them. However, the participating service providers also benefit from access to prospective entrepreneurs and growing companies. Brenda Whitehurst of YWCA-Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship reported being able to fill her classes on business plan development with “Sussex County Is Open For Business” attendees looking for guidance. That was quite valuable for the Center, which continually seeks individuals to utilize its programs and resources.

 

According the Ms. Whitehurst, “Even if one person shows up at a ‘Sussex County Is Open For Business’ session, it’s worth me being there.”

 

“Sussex County Is Open For Business” is sponsored by Delaware Small Business & Technology Development Center, and made possible through the support of University of Delaware Sustainable Coastal Community Initiative. There is no charge to attend. Regular resource events are held the fourth Monday of each month, excluding December, at the Georgetown Public Library, 123 West Pine Street in Georgetown, 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. To learn more information or to pre-register, call 302-856-1555. Or visit SEDAC’s website.

Business people find solutions at “Sussex County is Open for Business”

Two free events scheduled for October 24 and November 28 in Georgetown

Georgetown, DE.  October 14, 2011. Carolyn Phillips has been making her own specialty soaps for family and friends for years. And lately, she’s been wondering how to turn her hobby into an entrepreneurial venture called Healing Soap, with all the questions that go along with that decision. How can her business plan help her gain an edge with banks? What resources are available to aid her?  Where can she find training to help her have a better chance of success?

When she and her husband attended the first “Sussex County Is Open For Business” event on September 26, she found exactly what she sought—a room full of County, State, Federal and professional resources in one place to encourage business growth. The well-attended event was aimed at providing new entrepreneurs and expanding businesses tools and information to help them succeed.

After receiving consultations with representatives from a number of different agencies and business development organizations, Ms. Phillips felt she walked away with plenty of answers. “This experience has broadened my thinking and I have many more ideas as to how I can expand and grow my business.”

The “Sussex County Is Open For Business” event series creates a one-stop resource for beginning entrepreneurs and existing companies looking to expand. Participating organizations and agencies include Delaware Center for Enterprise Development-DSU, Delaware Economic Development Office, Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership (DEMEP), Delaware Small Business & Technology Development Center, Delaware State Treasury, DTCC-Entrepreneur Center, First State Community Action Agency, Job Center of Delaware Libraries, Southern Delaware Tourism, SCORE Delaware, Sussex County Economic Development Office, U.S. Small Business Administration, and YWCA-Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship.

Ordinarily, business people would have to collect contact information for each organization, make appointments and travel many miles to consult with this many individual agencies. “Sussex County Is Open For Business” puts all of these resources at business people’s fingertips at one time.

“Sussex County Is Open For Business” was developed by Sussex County Economic Development Committee (SEDAC), a nonprofit partnership of business people, educators and government officials to further retention, expansion, creation and attraction of better business for Sussex County. SEDAC’s goal is creating resources to support existing businesses, fostering entrepreneurship, facilitating improvements to infrastructure and nurturing a well-trained workforce.

“Sussex County Is Open For Business” is sponsored by Delaware Small Business & Technology Development Center. The next events will be held October 24 and November 28 at the Georgetown Public Library, 123 West Pine Street in Georgetown, 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. To learn more information or to pre-register, call 302-856-1555. Or visit SEDAC’s Website, http://www.sedac-de.org.

“SEDAC’s goal is to bring jobs and increased prosperity to Sussex County,” explains Chairperson Patti Grimes. “This series of events, bringing together county-wide business resources, is just one of the ways we’re seeking to galvanize economic development.”

SEDAC (http://www.sedac-de.org)  is a nonprofit organization comprised of  business, education, Sussex County Cooperative Extension and government representatives who are committed to attracting, expanding and retaining business in Sussex County. It seeks to support existing businesses, foster entrepreneurship, facilitate improvements to the county’s infrastructure and build a well-trained workforce.

Sussex County is “Open for Business” at Sept. 26 development fair, Georgetown

Sussex County Is Open for Business

Free Business Development Fair Assembles County-Wide Experts

Sussex County, DE, (August 25, 2011)–“Sussex County is Open for Business,” the first in a series of free monthly business development fairs, will be held on Monday, Sept. 26, 8:30-10:30 a.m., at the Sussex County West Complex Building, Georgetown. The event will be sponsored by the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee (SEDAC) and hosted by the Sussex County Council. Call 302-856-1555 for a reservation.

“Sussex County is Open for Business” is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs wishing to identify financial and business coaching resources, brainstorm with experts and obtain advice on business fundamentals. The event is also useful for existing business owners looking to improve and expand their companies to learn of County, State and Federal programs to support business growth.

Participants will include:

  • Delaware Center for Enterprise Development-DSU
  • Delaware Economic Development Office
  • Delaware Small Business & Technology Development Center
  • DEMEP (Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership)
  • DTCC-Entrepreneur Center
  • Southern Delaware Tourism
  • SCORE Delaware
  • Sussex County Economic Development Office
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • YWCA-Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship

“SEDAC’s goal is to bring jobs and increased prosperity to Sussex County,” explains Chairperson Patti Grimes. “This series of events, bringing together county-wide business resources, is just one of the ways we’re seeking to galvanize economic development.”

SEDAC (http://www.sedac-de.org)  is a nonprofit organization comprised of  business, education, Sussex County Cooperative Extension and government representatives who are committed to attracting, expanding and retaining business in Sussex County. It seeks to support existing businesses, foster entrepreneurship, facilitate improvements to the county’s infrastructure and build a well-trained workforce.

Media Contact: Mark Reeve  302-841-8379 mreeve4@verizon.net

SEDAC and University of Delaware Host Economic Gardening Network on May 5

Are you interested in seeing Sussex County business and job creation grow? Are you involved in economic development issues affecting southern Delaware communities?

Then join the University of Delaware Coastal Community Initiative and Sussex Economic Development Action Committee (SEDAC) for a combined networking and workshop featuring the special presentation “Economic Gardening” by Christine Hamilton Pennell, president of economic development consulting and training firm Growing Local Economies.

The event will be held Thursday, May 5, 2011 at the Cordrey Center, 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Free to attend, this special network-shop is a perfect opportunity to mingle with area business people and economic development officials, as well as receive interactive training to help you grow business in your community.

Christine Hamilton Pennell has a long history of community economic development, formerly as Economic Intelligence Specialist for Littleton, Colorado and currently provided training and consulting to both national and international community and business groups. She will discuss the concept of Economic Gardening, an entrepreneurial approach to business growth utilizing information, infrastructure and strategic connections to foster local entrepreneurial development. The network-shop will include opportunities for attendees to have direct participation and interaction to provide enhanced take-away knowledge.

The May 5 network-shop is also an opportunity to meet SEDAC board members and learn more about upcoming events and offerings developed by this dynamic group. Formed in 2008, SEDAC is a coalition of southern Delaware’s business, government and education leaders focused on creating resources and programs to support self-sustaining, long-term economic growth in Sussex County. A 501(c)(3) corporation, SEDAC provides an intersection of public policy and private commerce to foster job and wealth creation for Sussex County.

There is no charge to attend the Economic Gardening network-shop, but pre-registration is required.  Light refreshments and beverages will be available. To learn more information, contact Michele Walfred at the University of Delaware Coastal Community Initiative, or call her at (302) 856-2585 x 550.  Or register here!


Sewing the seeds of economic development, resourceful leaders create jobs in Sussex County


Be. Do. Cause. With three simple words as their mantra, the inaugural 2010 class of Resourceful Leaders celebrated a unique commencement in June, equipped with renewed confidence as individual and community leaders. Eager to apply specifically honed personal goals to Be more effective where they work and live, Do more than just talk about change, the empowered leaders will Cause measurable economic prosperity through creation of new jobs in Sussex County.


The Inaugural 2010 Resourceful Leader Class. From left to right, Back Row: Mike Nally, Frank Brady, Colin Walls, Patti Grimes, Rob Rider, Scott Thomas, Ryan Williamson, Bill McGowan. Seated: Melody Booker, Saulo Chavez, Lindsay Maurer. Not present for photo: Brenda Whitehurst.

Each participant had a personal stretch goal to create at least one new job in Sussex County. They are giving themselves six months. Two have already met their goal.

Modeled after graduate-level seminars, the collaborative exercise, conducted at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown during May and June, focused on economic gardening. Each of the 10 class members, all who work full time jobs in the county, made a commitment to attend seven, five-hour evening sessions, challenging each other to develop natural talents into performance, build confidence through encouragement, and turn inventive ideas into real, tangible results.

Launching an economic gardening program through resourceful leadership was a natural progression for Bill McGowan, University of Delaware Community Development Extension agent and co-director of the Sustainable Community Enhancement Initiative. Having facilitated initiatives such as the two-year agricultural leadership program LEADelaware, workshops on heritage tourism, and multiple town hall interactions to define the Heart and Soul of Sussex County, and now working with SEDAC, the Sussex Economic Development Action Committee, McGowan was acutely aware of the economic challenges facing Sussex County. Delving into a variety of issues and hearing from equally diverse interests, McGowan instinctively knew where the solution could be found – with Sussex Countians themselves acting as economic gardeners.

“Sussex Countians are conscientious, caring, community -minded people,” McGowan observed. “They are willing to help each other.  It may sound simple, but in committing to this program, you grow yourself, you can grow your organization, and grow your community.”

Saulo Chavez, administrative executive of a Georgetown community health care center, agreed. “This class helped us to realize – we hear on the news how the rate of unemployment is so high. We wait for government to help,” Chavez said. “It is up to us to create those jobs and it us up to us to encourage job creation. We are not waiting for someone else to do that.”

The determination to grow the economy was evident throughout the group.  Each of the 10, representing the arts, charitable foundations, financial management, health services, non-profits, auto service, manufacturing, home builders, land developers and tourism, examined their personality profiles to better respect the different approaches that exist across arenas. After the first session, a strong bond was formed in an atmosphere where “Be, Do, and Cause” really meant something. It meant they had to produce. It meant taking their collective commitment to serve Sussex County and delivering something tangible to benefit a larger good.

To get Sussex’s economic garden properly tilled, McGowan turned to his friend Mike Nally, founder of Lead Your Way Solutions and partner on other leadership training projects, most notably with the current two-year class of LEADelaware. McGowan’s admiration for Nally as a skilled leader/coach made Nally’s addition the natural choice to guide the seven sessions.

“Nally is a tremendous asset to Sussex County. We chose Mike because of his belief in, commitment to, and demonstration of servant leadership. He is a living example of walking the talk,” McGowan said.

“Mike’s ability to share his ‘Be Do and Cause’ principles with the group and guide them in their own discussions with each person around those principles is one of the finest demonstrations I’ve seen of adult learning,” McGowan continued.

The group was unanimous in describing the sessions as transformational.

“We’ve all been to training seminars for one and two days and you come back on fire and then it fizzles out,” said Frank Brady.” The way it was set up- the week to week format-allowed the right stretch of time to be responsible and to be transformational, so we can make a change and be accountable for it – to ourselves and to the group.”

“I didn’t want it to end, said Lindsay Maurer, who, like Brady, works for a residential and commercial builder. “I would do anything for these guys. It was transformational. I would love to see everybody go through this,” Maurer said.

Ideas came to the table from all directions – and were listened to, challenged, encouraged, and fleshed out in real time. Softball ideas where honed for specifics and some of the sessions were intensive, but generous with constructive criticism and the offering of personal lessons as a way to convert ideas into reality.

Patti Grimes, executive director of a non-profit art foundation, found the different backgrounds of the class participants an important ingredient in enriching the group. “We all learned from everyone else’s experiences through this,” Grimes said. “It helps us take that back to work and to our homes and help create new leaders.”

Nally was initially concerned that the long evening sessions, coming at the end of a full work day, would be difficult to sustain.

“I thought it might run out of gas,” Nally offered.” Keeping people engaged for five hours was a worry – it’s tough to keep up the energy. But the reality, the dynamics of the group proved the opposite. The conversation stayed fresh and long enough to start changing things.”

We moved the world to be here,” Grimes said. Everyone agreed quitting at 9 p.m. proved difficult.

Nally and McGowan’s stretch goal intends to create 100 resourceful leaders for the community from a diverse pool of applicants. The only prerequisite is a commitment to Sussex County. The inaugural class will act as mentors and provide additional resources for future sessions.

As the last session came to a close, a class that began as 10 strangers left as a tightly knit unit that did not want to quit. Instead of goodbyes the new Resourceful Leaders were making plans to meet regularly and continue the process of support, partnership, and economic growth.

As a token of their commencement, McGowan and Nally presented each with a potted Bonsai tree accented with a “Be, Do, Cause” touchstone – a reminder of their purpose. McGowan reminded the group that Bonsai trees were beautiful to look at but tricky to grow, requiring a commitment of time and personal attention. If the Bonsai was a fitting symbol, then Maurer’s reaction to it might symbolize the leaders and their chances for success. Maurer took her Bonsai home, examined several websites on how to care for them, and shared the best instructions with the group in an email the next day. It wasn’t her Bonsai she was concerned about – it was everyone’s Bonsai that mattered.

Article and photo: Michele Walfred     Click here for additional photos