Areas of Expertise
Startup and Small Business Advancement
Cultivating the prosperity of home-grown businesses is a high-return investment strategy to achieve long term economic vitality. Small businesses are the economic foundation of almost all communities, and they present many opportunities for advancement – as well as some challenges.
Founders of startups and other small businesses often have needs that are different from the larger, more well-established businesses routinely served by economic development organizations. The better that EDOs understand the needs of locally owned small businesses, the more they can do to help those businesses prosper. Conversely, few entrepreneurs fully understand the many business advancement resources and networks accessible via EDOs. Bridging the gap to connect entrepreneurs with local business resources is a powerful strategy to sustain a community’s economic vitality.
First Flatiron Consulting brings expertise in startup community building and small business advancement from two decades of economic development leadership in the dynamic Boulder, Colorado, entrepreneurial ecosystem. We’ve mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs in launching and growing their businesses, and successfully collaborated with startup accelerators, investment funds, development centers, and other small business resources.
Crisis Response and Economic Recovery
Community resiliency is more critical than ever to sustainable economic vitality. Crisis disruptions caused by pandemics, natural disasters, and economic and social volatility can undo years of community progress.
Crises often strike with the speed and magnitude that communities, businesses, and residents can’t manage by themselves. Economic development organizations must act quickly and proactively to help coordinate a collaborative response to the immediate impacts of crises and to help lead the longer-term work of economic recovery. EDOs can lead in a crisis by leveraging their expansive networks of government agencies, businesses and industry groups, workforce training and development organizations, and human service nonprofits, among other key partners. And EDOs bring the in-depth understanding of a community’s assets and opportunities necessary to expedite economic recovery.
First Flatiron Consulting has firsthand experience with deep economic recessions, 100-year flood events, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. The lessons we’ve learned emphasize the importance of aligning community leadership in responding to the immediate impacts of disruptive events. Perhaps most important, we understand how collaborative resiliency planning and execution can accelerate economic recovery and empower sustainable economic vitality.
Socioeconomic Data Analysis and Communications
Data-driven economic development programming promotes sustainable economic vitality. A deep understanding of a community’s workforce, industry clusters, real estate inventory, capital resources, and other key socioeconomic performance indicators is critical to preserving local strengths and competitiveness. Monitoring KPI’s over time yields insights that are instructive in calibrating economic vitality programs and in educating increasingly diverse stakeholders.
How performance indicators are communicated to constituents is as important as the data itself. Audiences as diverse as investors, business prospects, mobile professionals, industry leaders, boards of directors, legislators, and community residents can all become influential advocates of a community’s economic vitality when they better understand its competitive advantages.
First Flatiron Consulting understands the power of data to inform community leaders and influential stakeholders. We’ve produced groundbreaking research methodologies and publications. We’ve published our research portfolio in the media and online, with audience analytics reaching tens of thousands of views and downloads, and we’ve presented our work at regional and national conferences, including by invitation of the International Economic Development Council and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.