Focusing on organic job growth in communities statewide.


It’s a hard lesson some communities must learn along the way. A big company leaves, and with it jobs. Hopes of a new employer coming to town are dashed by intense competition and deep pockets. In need of work, people move away, and when they do, the very soul of the community withers and wastes away. But there is a way to retain that intellectual wealth and economic vitality. By focusing on entrepreneurship and small business growth, communities can flourish organically, creating jobs, filling empty storefronts and keeping future generations engaged and in residence.

Spearheaded by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the state’s Startup Washington strategy is designed to keep economic and intellectual wealth in communities throughout Washington. It has not only gained the support of local economic developers, but is part of Governor Inslee’s long-term economic development efforts to create more quality jobs statewide.

Our goal with Startup Washington is to re-energize these communities and businesses with the entrepreneurial spirit, whether they are large or small. Technology allows people to live and work where they want to these days and it is Startup’s goal to  provide the tools, resources, education and training needed to start, grow and expand a business anywhere in the state. Entrepreneurship is not just about education; it’s about successful adulthood.


Maury’s Message

Books to Read

An interview with…

It’s the talent, stupid!

Are you sitting down?
I want the world to know that I think recruiting business is the most effective economic development strategy around.
What? Has Maury finally lost it? For years you’ve heard me speak and write that recruitment is the devil’s work. And now I am opening my community door to the devil.

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The art of successful economic development.

Last month, I finished my blog with lyrics designed to encourage parents to teach their children to grow up to be entrepreneurs. Frankly, I was surprised by the response. Within minutes after publishing it on social media, I was inundated with hundreds of messages from readers (O.K., so I may have rounded up a bit). Some offered to buy me a one-way ticket to Nashville; others suggested I keep my day job and that my momma should have read more Dr. Seuss to me as a child. Taking the life coach suggestions out of the mix, what I found interesting was that most people who took the time to write wanted me to mention that the arts are an essential component of any economic development strategy and that it also plays an important role in entrepreneurship.

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book-our-kids1Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

Granted, we cannot predict the future.  But the most important and long lasting way we can influence the future is by helping children today.   Children are the future living and breathing in front of us.  The author believes that a couple of the favorite words of economic development professionals, “opportunity” and “social capital”, now depict a situation in serious trouble.  There is less opportunity and social capital for more and more people in America.  The reasons are the usual suspects familiar to anybody not living in a tomb but he introduces a rather remarkable change in our culture:  the decline of “weak ties” among less educated less affluent Americans.


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bio-JohnSechrestJohn Sechrest

When people hear the words angel investors, they think of an affluent individual who drops down from heaven and gives money to a person with a great idea.  Or they think of the TV show Shark Tank and imagine angels acting more like the devil looking like Kevin O’Leary and waiting to pounce and steal your company in exchange for money, equity, and a signature.   Neither is entirely true. John Sechrest is neither an angel nor the devil but he knows how to bring out the best in them. John started as a software engineer at HP, writing network code for calculators and later became the founder of PEAK Internet services. He spent 5 years as the Economic Development Director of Corvallis Oregon, where he founded the Willamette Angel Conference. He participated in the Oregon Angel Fund, a venture capital fund that brings together an extraordinary group of business and technology leaders for the benefit of local entrepreneurs. He is working to bring that model of community investing to Washington State. read the interview…

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