Communities always celebrate new business and industry coming to town, bringing jobs and investment, and established businesses that are growing. But long before the celebration, a lot of groundwork has been done, both by the community in making itself as attractive as possible to new business and as helpful as possible to existing business, and by businesses making sure the community is the right fit.
On both sides of this effort, education plays a huge role. The community needs a strong education system to tout to businesses. And businesses want to know that the community values education and offers the right mix.
That mix includes the availability of employees with the skills a business needs now and into the future, quality schools at all levels for employees’ children to attend, and nearby higher education institutions for employee training as well as potential research and development partnerships.
These elements are important not only to new business and industry but to those already established. Companies that have set down roots in our community won’t thrive and grow without access to skilled employees, quality schools for their children, and partnership opportunities with educational institutions.
Beyond new and existing traditional businesses, education also is a key to fostering a climate of entrepreneurship in the community, another growth opportunity. Entrepreneurship is now being taught in many educational programs at different levels. The recently concluded investor panel of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy demonstrated that middle and high school students are launching their own companies in Madison County. The term “serial entrepreneur” was coined to describe those who, time after time, start a business, see it grow to a certain point, sell it — typically at a handsome profit—then take those profits and start all over again. This is behavior that any community would want to encourage.