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Ideas-Preneur
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As an Economic Development group, have you given consideration to the former residents and students of your marketing area? It is most likely that an alumni/alumnae association exists within your geographic area. Why not put forth a soliciting effort to recruits those individuals to "return to their roots". You can be selective in the solicitation and focus on retirement age folks that may want to start there own business in retirement. Or perhaps they own, or are a part of a company that could be enticed to move and/or expand their business to your target area. This may be especially true of businesses in high tax states such as California, Illinois, both coasts, etc.

NOTE: Incidentally, FYI, did you know...
that (in Latin) "alumnus" refers to a male graduate and the plural is "alumni".
And the female term is "
alumna" and the plural is "alumnae". That should give the sexist something to focus on!

Or maybe without the alumni/alumnae focus, it would be worth considering a campaign of solicitation on the high tax states to promote your geographic area.

How about a concentrated effort of building a social media group to "spread the word" of your desire to encourage businesses to start or return to the area.

And then there is the forgotten members of the Community - your senior citizens... that may offer a wealth of value to a Community's economic develoment interest.

But of course you should give strong consideration  to a local brainstorming program, or as we refer to elsewhere...
The Big Ideas Club.
 
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