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INFORMATION FROM THE SIROLLI INSTITUTE. WHAT WE ARE DOING, THINKING AND FEELING ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENTERPRISE FACILITATION AND RESPONSIVE SYSTEMS OF DEVELOPMENT.

 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

IL PREMIO MAIELLA VETRINA D'ECCELLENZA D'ABRUZZO E MOLISE

 

Sotto il segno della solidarietà con l’Abruzzo, colpito dal terribile terremoto del 6 aprile scorso, si è svolta a RHO (Milano) la XXII edizione del Premio MAIELLA,  click to open pdf riconoscimento attribuito ad Abruzzesi e Molisani che “fuori regione” si sono distinti nei vari campi di attività.

 

Davanti ad un folto pubblico, in diversi momenti commosso, plaudente e partecipe, la cerimonia ha vissuto momenti di straordinaria intensità emotiva man mano che le diverse personalità sul palcoscenico dell’Auditorium di Via Meda a Rho raccontavano parti della loro vita, dei loro successi e delle loro attività. Forti le emozioni suscitate già all’inizio della cerimonia, da Paola Pessina con intense ed appropriate parole sia sull’attività dell’associazione, sia sul difficile momento che sta vivendo la popolazione abruzzese colpita dal sisma. Emozioni cresciute con il concerto del Coro ANA di Limbiate i cui canti hanno rievocato l’aria e il clima delle montagne abruzzesi e molisane. Applausi a non finire e, mentre il presidente del sodalizio, Domenico D’Amico, consegnava una targa ricordo al Coro, la prof.ssa Pessina, nel salutare il gruppo canoro, ha sottolineato giustamente che, “dove c’è solidarietà ci sono gli alpini e dove ci sono gli alpini c’è solidarietà”.

La cerimonia è entrata nel vivo con l’intervento del presidente dell'Associazione "La Maiella", Domenico D’Amico, appassionato e fortemente coinvolgente, che presentando la manifestazione e le sue finalità ha dato il via al momento clou della giornata. L’assessore del Comune di Rho, Carolina Pellegrini, nel suo saluto, ha evidenziato la grande considerazione in cui in città è tenuta l’associazione culturale “La Maiella”, testimoniato peraltro dal riconoscimento che alla sua azione è venuto più volte da parte delle Istituzioni e dal Presidente della Repubblica il quale, anche quest’anno, ha inviato all’associazione il suo plauso e la sua medaglia. Si è passati quindi alla consegna dei Premi. Momenti di grande e solidale partecipazione del pubblico presente alla testimonianza di Dante Marianacci, poeta, direttore dell’Istituto Italiano di Cultura a Vienna (Austria), con i ricordi e l’amore per l’Abruzzo di Luigi Savina, attuale Questore a Padova, con la ricca e “miracolosa” esperienza di Ernesto Sirolli “facilitatore di imprese” in tante parti del mondo, giunto appositamente dalla California.

Come ha sottolineato la parlamentare Europea, Patrizia Toia, che insieme all’Assessore Carolina Pellegrini e alla senatrice Giuliana Carlino ha premiato Dante Marianacci, rivolgendosi a tre premiati ed al pubblico, “il Premio MAIELLA è, fin dalla sua prima edizione, la “vetrina dell’eccellenza dell’Abruzzo e del Molise”. Il suo ricco palmarès di personalità che hanno calcato in oltre 20 anni il palcoscenico dell’Auditorium di Rho è una splendida ed efficace carta di identità delle caratteristiche della gente abruzzese e molisana che ha saputo conquistare, in ogni dove, rispetto e prestigio.”

Sulla stessa lunghezza gli interventi dell’on. Vinicio Peluffo e del consigliere regionale del Moclick to enlargelise, Rosario De Matteis che hanno consegnato la medaglia del premio e la pergamena a Luigi Savina e poi la vicepresidente della Provincia di Milano, Arianna Cavicchioli, il Sindaco di Pregnana Milanese, Sergio Maestroni con l’assessore Enrico Ceccarelli che hanno premiato Ernesto Sirolli. Applausi calorosi anche per Angiolino D’Orazio, sindaco di Altino (Chieti), paese natale di Ernesto Sirolli.

L’emozione è stata massima quando il presidente D’Amico ha parlato dell’immane tragedia provocato dal sisma e ha innanzitutto ringraziato i diversi gruppi di volontariato rhodense immediatamente accorsi in soccorso della popolazione aquilana. Un particolare grazie è stato rivolto al Gruppo Alpini di Rho, al nucleo rhodense della Protezione Civile, ai volontari di “Rho Soccorso” che sono stati e sono ancora all'Aquila e dintorni.

 

 

MONDAY, 26 JANUARY 2009

A very big load of horse manure… and the next entrepreneurial revolution!

author: Dr. Ernesto Sirolli
Futurologists are people who speculate about the future. They have their own magazines, journals and conferences. One such conference was held in New York City in 1880 and the question that the futurologists addressed was the following: “What will New York City look like in 1980?” The consensus was that by year 1980 New York City would not exist anymore. The reason, according to the futurologists, was that to move the ever increasing population of New York in 100 years, 6,000,000 horses would have been needed, and the problems created by the manure would have been impossible to deal with!
The preferred mode of transportation had been, for centuries, the horse and the horse could not meet the requirements of the new cities anymore…it was, like today’s cars, too polluting. Yet the average person could not imagine a future without them and Henry Ford famously said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Instead by 1900 in the USA there were 1001 car manufacturing companies.
Small, tentative, entrepreneurial and private sector the pioneers of automotive transportation started a revolution in response to both the market needs and wants. In fact they started a revolution in advance of market wants.
Who are the entrepreneurs at work today? Where are they? What are they doing? Can we predict their appearance? Can we plan for them to appear when we want them to appear?
We believe that we are confronted by many “horse manure” problems in the world and that the need for original solutions will be addressed, right now, by entrepreneurs that are all but invisible not only to the general public but to many economic development practitioners as well.
What can be done to assist and expedite the work of entrepreneurs in our society? Old methods don’t work. Planning, for instance, is totally inadequate to the task as eloquently put by Peter Drucker who wrote: “Planning as the term is commonly understood is actually incompatible with an entrepreneurial society and economy. Innovation does indeed need to be purposeful and entrepreneurship has to be managed. But innovation, almost by definition, has to be decentralized, ad hoc, autonomous, specific, and microeconomic. It had better start small tentative, flexible. Indeed, the opportunities for innovation are found, on the whole, only way down and close to events. (…) Innovative opportunities do not come with the tempest but with the rustling of the breeze.”
Facilitating Entrepreneurship

If entrepreneurs cannot be created nor planned what can the economic development professionals do? There are no doubts that the present economic and social crises will bring about a wave of innovations that are going to change, once again, the world we know. At the Sirolli Institute we believe that to be part of the change we have to be prepared to deal with entrepreneurs anywhere they may be, no matter how small, tentative or inexperienced.
Enterprise Facilitation is about capturing the passion, energy and imagination of our own people in our own communities and advocating for generalized entrepreneurship, no matter where it occurs.
It is also, and most importantly, about being prepared to offer, to a new generation of entrepreneurs, the management skills necessary to start AND sustain their ventures.
The economist and philosopher Ernest Schumacher once wrote: “I can't myself raise the winds that might blow us, or this ship, to a better world. But I can at least put up the sail so that, when the wind comes, I can catch it.”
We, economic development professionals, may not start the entrepreneurial revolution ourselves but at least we can prepare for it!
Since 1985 Ernesto Sirolli and the Sirolli Institute have worked with hundreds of communities worldwide to build their capacity to respond to entrepreneurs. We do so by working closely with the existing civic leadership and by training them to deliver this second leg of economic development. The Institute trains local Enterprise Facilitators by either establishing a new position or by re-training existing personnel to carry out the facilitation role.

POSTED BY DORA LOVE AT 09:53 1 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST

FRIDAY, 9 JANUARY 2009

Ernesto Sirolli on Africa and the first Enterprise Facilitation® project in the Democratic Republic of Congo

From 1972 to1977 I worked for an Italian Agency of Technical Cooperation with African Countries call ASIP. ASIP was one of a number of private sector Agencies created after the passage of the Pertini Act of Parliament of 1971. Under the new law young Italians were able to volunteer for two years of work in Africa in programs designed and endorsed by the Italian Foreign Office. The role of my Agency was initially a recruitment and training role for young volunteers but very soon we became involved in designing the Technical Cooperation programs in a number of African countries including Zambia, Kenya, Somalia, Algeria and Ivory Coast.
What I experienced visiting our projects and our volunteers in Africa during the five years period was devastating. The experience shaped both my personal and professional life and Enterprise Facilitation®, the local economic and community development approach that we have developed over the past 30 years, is the direct result of it.
We failed miserably in Africa .Every single project failed to sustain itself and often we damaged the local people by introducing practices and technologies that were antithetic to local mores and inappropriate to local needs.
We started Training Farms by African rivers full of Hippopotami, only to see the crops eaten as soon as ripe, and we convinced the native people to come to work by “motivating” them with increasingly damaging enticements; from sunglasses and watches to beer and whiskey.
The Foreign Office started a faculty of Medicine in Mogadishu. My Agency sourced the books in the USA, had them translated in Italian and then established Italian Classes for students who, being well educated middleclass Somalis, spoke English.
During the period I came in contact with many foreign Aid Agencies working in Africa and I came to believe that it wasn’t only us Italians blundering in Africa. It seemed to me that all of donor nations had their own ideas of what the African people needed and were doing their blundering best to impose it onto them.
We collectively failed, and some still fail in Africa, because we made plans in our own countries and then we superimposed our programs, technologies and practices to people who did not ask us for our help and who did not need what we thought they needed! Our programs were about us, not them and without buy in from the locals we were always reduced to reward, motivate, cajole and bully people to do what we wanted them to do.
Instead of helping people do what they passionately wanted to do we paid them to do what we wanted done; as soon as the money would end the program would disappear!
Enterprise Facilitation is born of two ideas:

  • Only go where invited
  • Help people do beautifully what they love doing

The idea of “only going where invited” came from understanding the radical work of the German born economist Ernest Schumacher who, after working in Africa and Bangladesh in the sixties wrote “Small is Beautiful- Economics as if People Matter” (1973).
He famously wrote: “If people do not wish to be helped, leave them alone. This should be the first principle of aid.” The implication is that we should only work with people who sincerely want to be helped and that we should wait to be invited before showing up with our own ideas.
“Helping people do beautifully what they love to do” comes from studying Positive Psychology also called “Growth”, “Third Force” or “Humanistic” psychology.
Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Adler, Fromm and a host of post Freudian and post behaviorist psychologists, hence Third Force, advocate a person centered, respectful approach to working with clients that is steeped in the belief that people are always striving for self improvement. The role of the “helper” is to “remove the obstacles” that are stopping the individual from “growing”. But the growth is unique to the individual and has to do with “their” needs and aspirations not the helper, the program managers, the Aid Agency or “society”.
The idea is that better individuals make for better husbands, wives, parents and citizens and that by facilitating personal growth, by helping people become proud of their achievements for instance, everybody benefits including the community at large.
Enterprise Facilitation is the result of thirty years community practice in facilitating the transformation of good business ideas into sustainable enterprises, but Facilitation, a la Carl Rogers, can be used in many other fields; from counseling to the delivery of education, social and health related services.
If invited we, Sirolli Institute International, a non per profit organization based in the USA and Canada, train the community leadership to employ an Enterprise Facilitator who, for free and in confidence, helps anybody who wants to transform a talent or a passion in a way to feed his/her family.
The first Enterprise Facilitator, Fabrice Ilunga Mujinga, was trained, and will continue to be trained, by the Sirolli Institute both long distance and during his regular visits to the USA. It is hoped that future projects in the African continent will be established with Assistance of our first African’ Enterprise Facilitator (who speaks French, English and Swahili on top of two local languages) as soon as he will have completed his training and at least one year practice in his community.
For more information please contact us: info@sirolli.com

POSTED BY DORA LOVE AT 08:33 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST

LABELS: COMMUNITY, COMMUNITY BASED ENTERPRISE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, ENTERPRISE, ENTERPRISE FACILITATION,ENTREPRENEUR, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, GARDENING ECONOMY, INWARD INVESTMENT, PLANS, STRATEGY

MONDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2008

Inspirational News from a Sirolli Institute Project ~ Inspired Futures

Inspirational words of wisdom were the order of the day for budding entrepreneurs and community leaders attending the launch of Inspired Futures, a Bradford-based organisation established that aims to assist young businesses.
Held recently at the Karmand Centre in Barkerend, BD3, the event featured a number of speakers as well as a number of exhibition stands from community and business organisations such as Community Works, BD3 4ALL and Inkopo.
Keynote speeches were delivered by Shabir Hussein, who established the successful Akbar’s restaurant chain over 13 years ago and Sarah Joseph, founder and editor of Emel, the only mainstream Muslim lifestyle magazine.
The proceedings, which attracted over 100 attendees, were opened by Richard Sara-Gray and Lukman Miah of Inspired Futures.
“No one can be a perfect entrepreneur,” explained Richard “and as such we are here to help people build the right team in order to build the right business.
“In Bradford we have some of the most wonderful entrepreneurs around and a real indomitable spirit. It’s upto organisations like Inspired Futures to help these people realise their true potential,” added Richard.
Lukman echoed those words: “Inspired Futures is here to positively influence the local economy and the community at large.”
Shabir Hussein, who founded Akbars aged just 18 and now has restaurants in a number of major cities, explained how he realised his dream: “It’s all about having goals and backing that up with the passion to achieve them.
“When I opened my first small restaurant on Leeds Road in 1995 I had a clear goal of establishing Akbar’s as a well known regional brand within five years and we achieved that. I’m now focused on getting the Akbar’s brand into 15 major UK cities and we are well on the way to realising that,” added Shabir.
Sarah Joseph set up Emel in 2003 and she has since gone on to carve out a visible media profile that has placed her as one of most recognised Muslim businesswomen.
“Every small business is a seed for its local community that will thrive with the right nurturing,” exclaimed Sarah “and will, in time, prove to be very fruitful.
“Everyone of us has skills and talents that should be pursued but the biggest barrier to our success is ourselves.
“I call it the whisperer who is there to put doubts in our mind as to what is and isn’t possible. You have to keep going and believe in what you are doing wholeheartedly,” added Sarah who made a clear distinction between maximising profits and optimizing profits.
“Maximising profits is all about squeezing the last penny out of your venture whereas optimising profits is a more holistic approach that takes into account your own lifestyle, happiness and the needs of the wider community.
“I adhere to the latter and despite all of the demands of running a business and a growing family I still get a great deal of excitement out of putting Emel together,” she said.
Bradford City Councillor Jeanette Sunderland was delighted by the event which also featured the launch of Inside Directions which is aimed at helping women develop their own business ventures.
“This is very much the launch of a new collaborative way of doing business in Bradford that will allow ordinary people to achieve their dreams,” concluded Councillor Sunderland.
For more information about Inspired Futures visitwww.inspiredfutures.org.uk or call 01274 666283

POSTED BY DORA LOVE AT 09:22 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST

FRIDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2008

Spirit of enterprise wins Tynedale national award

By HELEN COMPSON
13 November 2008
The success of the Tynedale Enterprise Facilitation® Project was acknowledged when it was named one of the runners-up in the national finals of the Enterprising Britain Awards.
The project’s chairman, Gill Burgess, was presented with a trophy by businessman Peter Jones, of BBC2 The Dragon’s Den fame, during the ceremony at 11 Downing Street.
One NorthEast’s head of business, enterprise and skills, Tim Pain, said: “We’re extremely proud of Tynedale – the district has done a great job of showcasing North-East England’s growing enterprising culture. “I have no doubt that communities elsewhere can learn a great deal from its success.”
Tynedale Enterprise Project has helped to either establish or grow around 80 independent businesses since its inception just 18 months ago.
Read more... http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/news_at_a_glance/1.269408

POSTED BY DORA LOVE AT 13:15 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST

WEDNESDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2008

Mining and Community Development: From Rhetoric to Practice

author: Dr. Ernesto Sirolli
“Conventionally, mining companies have wanted to take immediate measures to alleviate poverty they observed in the neighborhood of their mining projects. Typically this has been by building schools, clinics, or hospitals and by sponsoring external health and education service providers to create new programs.
Often these efforts, although appreciated as generous gifts to local communities, have not lasted beyond the life of the mine, and sometimes not even beyond the tenure of the particular company staff that instigated the projects. The reasons for this are because the projects:
• Were chosen by the mining company people and/or the local elites
• Were built or run by outsiders, with little management involvement from local community members
• Were only accessible by the more affluent members of the community and not by the poorer members
• Required technology or knowledge not locally available to maintain them
• Or because the capacity of local people to manage the programs was not built up to a sufficient level.
The sum of these factors is that, with the best of intentions, the projects were imposed upon local communities and they therefore did not feel any particular ownership of them nor did they have the needed capabilities to sustain them, resulting in a progressive decline once external support was withdrawn.
Further, if local communities and government agencies become accustomed to mining companies taking charge of the provision of infrastructure and services, an unhealthy dependency relationship can evolve, which works against sustainability.”1
What Not to Do
I was about to start this paper with a critique of conventional community development programs when I came across the Community Development Toolkit published by the International Council on Mining and Metals in 2005. (The ICMM was set up in 2001 to represent many of the leading mining and metal companies of the world.)
The critique of “knee-jerk” infrastructure development in the Toolkit is spot on.
For a number of reasons building infrastructures is the easiest thing for mining companies to do. Unfortunately, as recognized by the ICMM, the approach is not sustainable.
I had the opportunity to visit a mining community in the Amazon that had been the recipient, for 45 years, of what I would describe as the paternalistic attention of an international mining company. The mine had built the school, sealed the roads, built for the community of 6000 people the best regional hospital in the State and provided electricity for the town.
When I visited the community the mine had been closed for nine year and…nothing worked anymore!
The power plant had shut down, the roads were reduced to obstacle courses of mud and potholes, the school barely survived and the hospital had shut down. When we asked the local council members what had happened, they told us that they had no resources to keep those infrastructures open. “We are poor,” they said. “Don’t give us infrastructures that we cannot maintain.”
In Valdez, Alaska, we were told a similar story. The City, mostly with money from companies associated with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, built a multi-million convention center. The 20,000 square foot facility is now an albatross around the neck of the community of 4300 people that has little use for it. It costs the City $200,000 USD a year just to keep it heated!
I am sure that all those associated with mining would be capable of sharing with me many more stories on the subject …
Let’s simply say that I found the ICMM’s observations on the topic of infrastructure development both accurate and welcomed.
What to Do
Accurate and welcomed were also the recommendations of the ICMM in regards to the opportunities for mining companies in community development i.e. the “what to do”.
After discussing the obvious benefit of offering training and apprenticeships in trade areas to build the skill level of the local population, the Community Development Toolkit goes on to say the following:
“The challenge, however, is to not only build the skills but also facilitate the growth of other activities in parallel to mining.…
Mining companies can localize some of their product and service procurement policies to help build local supply capabilities.
In addition to helping train local community members to provide goods and services, companies can also consider supporting micro credit schemes to help encourage small business.”
The way I read the document is that mining companies should look at building the capacity of the communities to survive long after the mine has gone. To do so a parallel economy has to emerge that may be based, initially, on providing goods and services to the mine but that eventually would expand and diversify to provide the same to the community, the region and the State.
The Toolkit even mentions, by name, an enterprise that did, precisely, that:
“…The Lac La Ronge Indian Band initially developed trucking and catering skills with support from the local uranium mines in northern Canada. Over time, they expanded their business away from the mines and now have an annual turnover of $65 million CAD in 2005 supplying services in the surrounding region”.
The Wrong Tools for the Job
The Toolkit’s excellence, in both identifying “what not to do” and in suggesting the “what to do” was lost, in my view, when it started to suggest and enumerate the tools to achieve what it had so eloquently suggested.
The “17 Tools” proposed are all “top down”.
Some of them may be useful in identifying what areas of trade and apprenticeship can be offered to residents but, in our experience, they are useless in fostering entrepreneurship. To “facilitate the growth of other activities in parallel to mining” necessitates “facilitation tools” and facilitation tools have to be, by definition bottom-up and responsive.
The ICMM Community Development Toolkit comprises:
• Four Assessment Tools
• Five Planning Tools
• Three Relationship Tools
• Two Program Management Tools and
• Three Monitoring and Evaluating Tools
All of the above tools are “driven” from the mining company and are perfectly suited to achieve its objectives.
Working with entrepreneurs, on the contrary, requires an environment that allows local people to come and tell us what they want to do, when they want to do it and how!
Working with entrepreneurs in a community requires the creation of a “convivial” social infrastructure that allows for free, confidential, caring, competent and compassionate service to them. Unless such social infrastructure is in place would-be entrepreneurs will shy away from working with us or, even worst, they will come to seek our help for the wrong reasons.
Working with Entrepreneurs
Working with entrepreneurs over the past quarter century we have learned the following:
Assessing how many would-be entrepreneurs may reside in a community by doing community surveys or asking around, as suggested in the Toolkit, does not work. Entrepreneurs do not reveal, in public, their ideas for making money because they fear competition and/or ridicule.
Planning for entrepreneurs to appear to take care of the provision of certain goods or services doesn’t work either. In the words of the foremost scholar of entrepreneurship, Peter Drucker, “planning is actually incompatible with an entrepreneurial society and economy.” Why? Because by definition entrepreneurship is a creative process that starts small, is decentralized, ad hoc, tentative and close to the action. Entrepreneurs see opportunities that nobody else see…by the time the opportunity has been “discovered” by the planners it isn’t an opportunity anymore!
Managing entrepreneurs is futile. If we truly wish to foster an economy that can survive the closure of the mine then we have to have entrepreneurs capable of managing their own enterprises. Managing anything, on our part, will create dependency and achieve the opposite of our aim.
Monitoring is probably the least intrusive of the above tools. But monitoring is not going to create enterprises that will survive long after the mine has closed!
Facilitating Entrepreneurship
The change that is required to go from “planning for infrastructure development” to “facilitating local entrepreneurship” is huge. It is like going from open cut low grade coal mining to prospecting for gold nuggets! Not only the tools are different…everything is different, including the attitude and expectations of the people involved.
We, at the Sirolli Institute, know how to prospect for gold. We know how to find one nugget at the time and have developed a methodology that actually gets the nuggets to come to us!
In 1985 we implemented the first Enterprise Facilitation® project in Esperance, Western Australia. Since them we have been refining the process and have been developing tools for sustainable community development that are ideally suited for capturing the passion, energy and imagination of local would be entrepreneurs.
Fundamental to our work are the following principles:
• We never initiate contacts with local entrepreneurs
• We never motivate local people to do anything
If invited to work in a mining community we engage firstly with the mining company management and train a small team in the principles and practices of Enterprise Facilitation.
We then assist that team (called the Project Management Team) to recruit an Enterprise Facilitator. The Enterprise Facilitator is preferably a native of the country and is both culturally and linguistically suited to operate in the community.
The Enterprise Facilitator, whose selection is based on certain personality characteristics and life experiences, is then trained by us to respond to local would-be entrepreneurs and to facilitate the transformation of their ideas into sustainable enterprises.
As mentioned above, in our methodology the Enterprise Facilitators are taught not to approach local entrepreneurs to offer help nor to motivate local people to start businesses. We instead build a community team to introduce the Enterprise Facilitator, informally, to friends and family members.
These community “helpers” are also trained by us to assist the Enterprise Facilitator with local intelligence and know-how and, taken together, the Management Team, the Enterprise Facilitator and the local Resource Team constitute the “convivial” social infrastructure that we mentioned earlier.
In our view, building the capacity of the community to help itself is the precondition for sustainable development. A community that learns how to help its own people to transform their ideas into viable enterprises is also a community that can benefit from better infrastructures because, in the long term, it will have the resources to maintain them.
Conclusions
While working with mining companies we have noticed that the language and the thinking behind community development have made dramatic changes. It is as if the rhetoric is finally in place. It is the tools that have to catch up!
Reviewing the bibliography of the ICMM Community Development Toolkit I couldn’t fail to notice that some of the tools had been borrowed from international development agencies and institutions that I call, affectionately, the “agents of virtue”!
Affectionately because I have known them since the early ‘70’s, when I started my work in Africa, and they are like those dear but obnoxious relatives that keep showing up at family gatherings retelling those same old, ridiculous stories.
I saw “assessment, planning, managing and monitoring” done in Africa over the past forty years and it didn’t work.
In fact after forty years of international aid and $1 trillion dollars donated to the African continent, Africa is poorer now than forty years ago. Not only that, but the gap between African countries and the rest of the world has actually widened during the period.
The rhetoric in international development circles is becoming even more refined and the names involved even more impressive but what has been done is more of the same. More money to build hospitals, schools, water treatment and roads for communities that cannot maintain them.
Yet, as described in Paul Theroux’s recent book Dark Star Safari2 the agents of virtue are busier in Africa than ever before and, if possible, they are even more righteous. They speed by, whites in their white 4x4s, as angels of the Lord on urgent missions of mercy…it is understandable that they never stop to give a lift to anybody; they are too busy saving Africa!
1 Community Development Tool Kit: International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM), The World Bank Group, Energy Sector management Assistance Programme (ESMAP), 2005.
2 Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town, 2003.

POSTED BY DORA LOVE AT 13:57 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST

THURSDAY, 24 APRIL 2008

Sirolli Institute Grassroots Development Process a Cure for Ailing Economy as New Business Sustainability Averages 95%


Enterprise Facilitation from Sirolli Provides Hope, Sustainable Jobs to Foundering Economy Through Community Mentoring Process That Is Free to Entrepreneurs
MARION, SD -- (April 7, 2008) -- Sirolli Institute, a leader in the field of sustainable community and economic development announced the upcoming anniversary of the Southeast Enterprise Facilitation Project (SEFP), based in Marion South Dakota will take place April 16, 2008. With projects scattered throughout the U.S., the sustainability of new businesses started through the trademarked Enterprise Facilitation process far exceeds the national average, with independently assessed projects in rural Kansas experiencing a 95% sustainability rate, and SEFP having new businesses succeed at an average 79.5% after the first four years. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for businesses still in operation after the first four years is only 44 percent.
“We advocate for a civic economy, a model of development that supports the creation of wealth from within a community by nurturing the intelligence and resourcefulness of its people, and champion the development of community through the passionate mentoring of local talent,” stated Dr. Ernesto Sirolli, Founder of the Sirolli Institute. “By promoting quality local enterprises that diversify the economic base and create jobs while respecting the environment and infusing the community with local vigor and ideas, communities are able to successfully grow themselves from the bottom up. The fact that people from all walks of life in the community are utilized to support the process, and that the service is free to anyone with an idea for a business helps ensure long-term viability and creates a true sense of community, is something that is often lacking in today’s society.”
With Enterprise Facilitation projects based throughout the U.S. in states like New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon and California, the biggest impact can be seen particularly in disenfranchised rural areas, who have experienced renewed economic growth and vitality. The process supports home businesses, mixed use areas, liveable cities and the emergence of civic society to achieve indigenous growth. People often overlook that creating one job can have such an exponential impact. For example, in one of the project communities 450 people are supported by 104 new, expanded or retained jobs.
“The process is effective because it allows each entrepreneur to focus on his or her strengths, and connects them with others in the community who can help them tackle the areas of starting a business that can be overwhelming, such as developing a business plan and securing financing,” offered Nancy Larsen, Enterprise Facilitator for the SEFP. “While there is a financial investment made by the community to manage the process, there is never a cost to prospective entrepreneurs who receive services, and the process is complimentary to conventional development resources, which are scarce or inaccessible in rural areas. The fact that the sustainability rate for new businesses in a project area such as ours, are at 79.5%, or 35% above the national average after four years, and that 81% of the jobs created still exist is nothing short of amazing. The local investment really brings the community together as a team and is a catalyst for developing relationships and a willingness to work together that might otherwise never have occurred.”
With the entire population served in Turner and Hutchinson Counties totaling less than a mere 17,000 people, and the largest community in the area fewer than 1,700 individuals the SEFP statistics are remarkable. From June 1997 through February 2008 the project numbers include:
• 911 Inquires
• 496 Clients Enrolled
• 58 New Businesses
• 308 Jobs
• 21 Expanded Businesses
• 25 Retained Businesses
“A key component in the value provided by SEFP lies in the long-term success of those clients that were assisted and decided to follow their dreams. Statistically, our clients have remained in business longer than a typical new business venture, partly due to the research and educational processes involved,” offered John McDonald, SEFP Board Treasurer and original board member. “In addition, the assistance provided by SEFP may help a client realize that their dream is not feasible and we can help them avoid an inevitable failure. There is value in the research and educational processes our clients follow, that makes it a good investment and a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
“The ‘economy,’ to us at the Sirolli Institute, is nothing less than millions of people doing beautifully what they love doing. The better they are at it, the better the economy! The difference between poverty and riches is the presence, or not, of civic society, i.e. the combination of social conditions and reciprocity which allow creativity and intelligence to blossom or to wither and die,” explained Dr. Sirolli.
“Our rural communities are fighting and scratching to survive, and while the jobs and economic stimulus provided by SEFP is important, a more important aspect is the people, offered Dr. John Chicoine, one of the original members of the SEFP Board. “The people who are the entrepreneurs that use the resources of SEFP and the Board members who dedicate their time and expertise to serving those people who are starting a business or expanding a business are the real value. The passion involved in this organization with the board and the entrepreneurs is extraordinary, and that passion is what fuels the entrepreneurial spirit.” Dr. Chicoine went on to say, “Dr. Ernesto Sirolli shared his passion with us eleven years ago, and that passion that has enriched and changed lives cannot have a value put on it, it is priceless. He gave us the tools to follow the dream and begin the journey, and what we have created exceeded our expectations after the first five months. The rest is history.”
About Sirolli Institute
Founded in 1996, the Sirolli Institute is a global, not-for-profit organization of experienced professionals with the mission of introducing Enterprise Facilitation to communities seeking to grow their economies from within.
When invited, we help you to establish a community-based organization that works in concert with existing economic development efforts to assist entrepreneurs. This organization serves as a catalyst for renewed community pride and civic spirit.
Since 1985, thousands of new and expanding businesses resulting in thousands of new jobs have been started with the help of Enterprise Facilitators in dozens of communities in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Canada.
For more information, please visit www.sirolli.com or visit SEFP online at www.sefp.com
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POSTED BY DORA LOVE AT 09:00 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST

WEDNESDAY, 5 MARCH 2008

Sirolli Visit sows seeds of Grass-Roots Dreams

Glen Winney is a man with a mission. He has invested in property development on the Fraser Coast and he is prepared to invest in the economic health of the region.
That thinking was behind the decision of Glen and his brother Alan to commit their Seashift Developments company to sponsoring the visit to Hervy Bay last week of Dr. Ernesto Sirolli.
To read more: http://www.sirolli.com/resources.cfm?cat=2

POSTED BY DORA LOVE AT 10:51 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST

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