October 2019 Retention & Recruiting Report : CEC Conference
Downtown Ludington, MI: Members of the Retention & Recruiting Committee Kathy Maclean, Thomas Hinman and Jen Tooman recently attended the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in Charlevoix, MI this month. This Michigan State University conference is held in a different Michigan community each year. The conference sessions are held in various locations and businesses around town, which allows attendees to explore.
Our committee members attended the following sessions at this conference: Pop Up Shops, Community Connections to Youth, Supercharging Your Entrepreneurial Community, Preparing for the New Economy, Saving Small Towns with Big City Ideas, Re-Imagining Your Downtown Business District and A Purpose Beyond Profits is Good For Business. They also heard messages from keynote speaker Jake Manthei and Luther Kurtz.
“This is my favorite conference,” stated Jen Tooman, Communications & Marketing Manager for Downtown Ludington, “Not only do you get to explore another Michigan downtown district and hear from those who help make it vibrant, but the information provided is always inspiring. I left with a long list of ideas we can implement in Ludington.”
One of those ideas was to encourage smaller, more affordable retail space for start up businesses. The historical buildings downtown are a big part of it’s character, but they are a large and costly to heat in the winter season. This makes these buildings out of reach for businesses that are just starting out. By creating smaller spaces for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, they can test the market and tweak their business plans without large overhead with the idea that some day they could occupy a larger space or even purchase a building in the DDA.
The committee also has plans to encourage youth participation in government and downtown, provide resources for entrepreneurs, engage local residents and developing a local ambassador group.
If you are interested in sitting on this DDA Committee, please contact us.