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 strengthen communities by through the cultivation and retention of economic and intellectual wealth. 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…

Those who can’t follow, lead.

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership lately. It’s not necessarily my fault. Hardly a day goes by when we’re not bombarded with the latest notions and pseudo-epiphanies about what a leader should or shouldn’t be. Last year alone, almost 1,500 paperbacks were published with the word “leadership” in the title. If I did my math correctly (and don’t count on it), that works out to four new books a day being published. For its part, Amazon lists 57,136 books on the subject of leadership. There’s so much content out there, in fact, that you could dedicate your entire life learning how to be a leader instead of just being one.

Which leads me to wonder…

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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 Magic Cup

We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But, grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we’ve often heard that nice guys finish last. Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the Starbucks organization most definitely proves that nice guys finish first. In The Magic Cup, Behar spins an engaging corporate tale to teach us exactly how we can do the same thing. See what the Bearded Librarian thought of mixing fairy tales with the real world in this adventure of leadership.  Here is a hint:  Don’t wait for the movie. The book will definitely be better.


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Anne Nelson

I have written and spoken numerous times of how the recognition of a community’s arts and culture assets are an important element of economic development. It is a common and successful strategy that communities all over the world try to blend. But rarely can you find an individual that combines the artistic talent with the experience of an economic developer. I first met Anne Nelson after a speech I gave at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.  She approached me after my presentation and showed me the work she did in drawing strategic plans.  It was like discovering Lana Turner at Schwabs soda shop. I was amazed at her artistic talent of capturing the future of a community.  Not only did she have a background in community and economic development in Colorado’s rural areas, but she was also a “facilistrator” (I coined that term) that facilitated strategic planning sessions and summarized them in a beautiful artistic document. (You can see a sample of her work by reading her interview). Anne is a professional creative person and owner of Drawn 2 Solutions, as well as the business and entrepreneurship instructor at Walla Walla Community College. Anne recently joined forces with her ultra-creative brother, Guy Nelson, to form Infinite Creativity! Consultants. Their services include keynote presentations, facilitation, applied improvisation training and visual recording. If all communities participated in strategic planning with a slice of their creativity, I am sure there would be more participation with a whole lot more fun.

read the interview…

Don't Be Shy.

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