VOL. 129 | NO. 97 | Monday, May 19, 2014
Dr. Mary C. McDonald
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald
It was a gathering of eagles. You know, the people who like to soar, and, more importantly, they like to push eaglets out of the nest so that they can also learn to soar.
And, like eagles, they have both vision and focus. I recently attended the CSG Entrepreneurship Days, sponsored by the Council of State Governments’ State Pathways to Prosperity Initiative and State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who is the 2014 CSG National Chair.
The event was held at the FedEx Institute at the University of Memphis. The venue lent itself to creative thinking and a sense of empowerment as it is home to high-tech resources and entrepreneurial think tanks. I sat next to Walker Uhlhorn, a founder of the Society of Entrepreneurs in Memphis who possesses a wealth of knowledge about business, nonprofits, startups and entrepreneurial ventures.
New businesses, startups, or whatever name you use, drive dynamism, job creation and job growth. Tennessee should be proud of its efforts at workforce development and growth in new business, and Memphis deserves a big slice of that “pride pie.”
A little more than 50 percent of businesses are considered small businesses, with one to four employees, with another 20 percent having five to nine employees. Since 2008, new small businesses in Memphis, and in Tennessee, have trended up, while the trending nationally was down. Without these small business start-ups, there is no economic growth.
My own experience with MCD Partners as a startup small business validates that Memphis, and all of Tennessee, has the right climate for business and deserves the award as State of the Year for Economic Development that it received the past two out of three years.
Economic development and jobs creation are linked. New businesses create new jobs, and new jobs stimulate the economy. When I started MCD Partners two years ago, with one employee and a leap of faith, our focus was growth in services which would positively affect job creation in Memphis. We are still a small, but growing, business and now have a presence in 31 states. The number of partners whose services are retained has increased in order to meet the demand for our multiple services in education consulting, executive searches, workforce development and urban education models.
So how does it happen, other than hard work? It happens here because Memphis is startup-friendly. There are business leaders and entrepreneurs who are willing to share best practices and lessons learned. There are positive partnerships in Memphis between and among fields of business, medicine, technology, education and government as examples of how all are lifted when working together. Memphis is a hub of creative thinkers, new ideas and folks who know how to execute plans.
As I listened to the speakers and attendees at this gathering of eagles, I was proud of Memphis and our leaders from all sectors for opportunities like this that encourage the entrepreneur within and promote the new ideas that will improve the quality of life for all our citizens.
Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a National Education Consultant, at 574-2956 or visit mcd-partners.com.