The Highland Center recently received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to create and implement an effective strategy with entrepreneurial incentives to attract new entrepreneurial residents to Highland County. The grant has enabled Craig Schroeder of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship to consult with The Highland Center in fulfilling this goal. The project will be completed using a five-step process: 1.) identify local assets; 2.) identify a target audience; 3.) create a brand and message to the target audience; 4.) determine the best avenues for marketing; and finally 5.) initiate the “Recruitment Action Plan.”
The project also plans to accomplish certain goals along the way. The first goal has already been completed; Craig Schroeder, our CRE consultant, met with over 95 community members to begin creating the Recruitment Action Plan. The Highland Center will also provide technical assistance and training to at least 12 businesses in Highland—eight of which will receive an “EntreManure” Incentive grant. During the course of this project, The Highland Center will select and train 12 Community Ambassadors to engage new residents in the community. The grant’s management team will work with Craig Schroeder to conduct market research and create a brand and message that invites new entrepreneurial residents to the county.
By partnering with The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, a rural-focused organization well known for its work helping rural communities identify and promote their assets, we will join together to create and implement a Recruitment Action Plan that will attract visitors and new entrepreneurial residents to Highland. This will grow our population and school system, expanding our tax base, and diversify our economy. Through this project, The Highland Center hopes to attract six new entrepreneurs to the county by October 2015. The Highland Center’s ultimate goal is to begin the process that will enable Highland County’s leaders to continue recruiting engaged entrepreneurial citizens long after the grant project is completed.