In small cities and rural communities across the nation, smart innovators have proven that shrewd federal investments at the local level in relatively simple economic stimulus programming can have explosively positive impacts for everyday working citizens, small farmers & ranchers, new entries to the workforce and local business owners.
Here are some economic stimulus ideas we can get started with in January 2021 right here in the 4th District:
These are the kinds of affordable, federally supported, grassroots economic development tools that we can all agree on (and more importantly get started with) right away.
Do you have ideas on Grassroots Economic Stimulation that you think people need to consider? Can you offer anecdotes from personal experience that can help move this discussion forward. Hit "Share" below to add your ideas or a link to other information that may be helpful and we will post them here.
American community finance experts and foreign aid innovators invented the notion of micro-enterprise financing which has been deployed by agencies such as US-AID as a community growth and worker-empowerment strategy in developing countries around the world for decades now.
Basically, this technique enables community banks to dive into the grassroots and empower previously under-tapped talent in the grassroots workforce to pursue passions, interests and special capabilities in developing greater prosperity and independence in their lives. It has been especially effective in helping entire communities overcome obstacles and drastically change their prospects.
With shrewd MEF strategy deployed in struggling communities through government/community banking partnerships, individuals are given low-interest financing to begin at the very ground floor of commerce to leverage their unique professional passions, skill-strengths, interests and ingenuity to imagine, start and sustain their own small business. It might start as a part-time side-hustle. But the idea is to enable anyone with an intent to prosper to end up as a successful business owner serving their community and contributing to a vibrant local economy.
It could start with a loan to acquire something as simple as a single weed whacker with a gas can or a single sewing machine and thread, cooking utensils and a charcoal grill, an engine hoist, or even a computer appropriate for coding. It could begin as a "part-time gig" to supplement income or begin changing career paths, or it could be an intentional way out of long term unemployment or under-employment for a worker looking to earn a better life. But whatever the loan receiver’s dream, in the end this technique can amount to a transformed career and years of increased contribution to the local economy.
Where this unique approach to grassroots economic development has been tried in the United States (there have been a few pilot programs mainly confined to larger urban communities on the Coasts) it has been shown to be highly effective in not only enabling at-risk and under-represented individuals to overcome obstacles to success, but it has been a key ingredient in community-wide transformation in some of our most challenged neighborhoods.
It is high time that we look at ways for the federal government to work with the local banking community to make this a key part of strategic economic stimulus in our challenged inland communities, on reservations and in our small inland cities.
In 2021 we can create a diverse new cadre of urban and rural entrepreneurs throughout the nation (and especially in the 4th District) with smart expansion of this technique.