The Sirolli Retreat

This is an intensive encounter with the philosophy, values and approaches used in Enterprise Facilitation for individuals and communities who want to understand more about the Sirolli Institute’s methodologies.

The Sirolli Retreat is specifically designed for community teams of civic leaders, who are motivated and passionate about championing the cause of helping to grow their economy from within.  Teams attending typically include: mayors, council members, business leaders, bankers, local economic development practitioners, local strategic partnership members, business coaches and advisers and other interested citizens.

By building the capacity of a team of civic leaders, instead of a lone individual, the learning process is accelerated.  The team is then able to implement the lessons and tools they have acquired to immediately affect positive change in their community.  By bringing together the best and brightest leaders from your community, you will maximize the training experience and increase your ability to strategically develop and perfect a balanced plan that will meet the needs of your individual community and deliver optimal results.
The Retreat focuses on the principles upon which the work at the Sirolli Institute is based.  In addition to the philosophical perspective, we will share the practice—a simple but effective management coaching approach that encourages entrepreneurs to form passionate and competent management teams before they seek finance and technical assistance.  The rationale for the approach is that it is impossible to find a single entrepreneur who is equally passionate about the three major areas of business - production, marketing, and financial management.  Perfected over the last two decades, these coaching tools result in a much higher success rate for business.

The Sirolli Retreat is offered twice each year.  If you are interested in holding a Retreat in your community, please contact us.

» New business sustainability rates averaging over 80%…Some exceeding 95%

» 10-20 new businesses started on average each year per region of 15,000 population

» Average cost per new job created is less than $3,000 USD

Finally we will share the process, explaining the civic environment necessary for Enterprise Facilitation to be implemented and ultimately sustained.
Participants will:

» Learn the philosophy and practices of Enterprise Facilitation

» Differentiate Enterprise Facilitation from other economic development models

» Clearly explain the two legs of development

» Identify tools and resources for client development

» Understand a never-initiate, never-motivate attitude

» Identify techniques to focus on people, not program.

» Identify the value that entrepreneurs contribute to the prosperity of the local economy

Enterprise Facilitation has the potential to transform economic development approaches for smaller communities, who often lack the resources and funding to compete with larger cities in the economic development game. Enterprise Facilitation offers a home-grown approach to not only foster entrepreneurship, but to re-generate community spirit. Entrepreneurs are civic leaders, and their engagement, both as business leaders and civic voices, will help revitalize local communities.
Erik Pages, Policy Director, National Commission on Entrepreneurship

Outline Program for the Retreat

Day One - The Philosophy—Using the Facilitator Approach
Module 1: Setting the Context
The morning of this very important first day is dedicated to creating the personal and social environment necessary for true communication and learning to occur.  Participants are encouraged to share their passions in life and to describe to others how beautiful they are both as individuals and as civic leaders.  The aim of the exercise is to discover that concerned civic leaders share common visions and hopes for their communities.

» Outcome 1-1: By the end of the morning’s activities, the participants will have gained the respect of their peers and an understanding of the intelligence, passion and aspirations that bonds them.

» Outcome1-2: The presenters will have gained an understanding not only of the personalities and values of the participants, but of the social and economic conditions present in their communities. Such information will be necessary to better communicate the benefit of Enterprise Facilitation in the sessions to come.

Module 2: Sharing the Philosophical Foundation of Enterprise Facilitation
The afternoon of Day One is dedicated to gaining an understanding of the intellectual underpinnings of Enterprise Facilitation.  The participants are asked to read and summarize short articles by a number of writers from different disciplines and historical periods.  Economists, sociologists, psychologists and social commentators are thus introduced to the participants.  What emerges from the readings is an understanding of the concept of responsiveness and its foundation in human potential and the intrinsic wish to grow. To make the afternoon compelling, a common exercise is organised that leads to a co-operatively reached definition of Enterprise Facilitation.

» Outcome 2-1: Participants achieve a deeper understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of Enterprise Facilitation.

» Outcome 2-2: Participants are gently pushed out of their comfort zones by “lecturing” the group on a subject that is not familiar to them. This prepares them to share thoughts and opinions in a more direct way by being accepted, and accepting, of others’ shortcomings.

Day Two - The Practice Of Using The Enterprise Facilitation Approach
Module 3: The Role of the Enterprise Facilitator
The principle of responsiveness, discussed and understood on the first day, obliges the practitioners of Enterprise Facilitation to reconsider their role vis-à-vis the clients. It requires discipline to never initiate the relationship with the client and to never motivate them to do what we wish for. How to work in the community in a responsive way is discussed together with the concepts of accessibility, visibility, and confidentiality.

» Outcome 3-1: By the end of this module, the participants will have gained a clear understanding of the meaning and the implications of being responsive. They will be able to start applying the concept to their own circumstances, careers, and communities.

Module 4: The Tools for Counseling Clients
The tools of the Family Doctor of Business are introduced and discussed.  The Enterprise Facilitator only works with individuals who ask for their help.  But when called upon, the Enterprise Facilitator is no longer passive; rather he/she acts as a family doctor when called upon.  Namely, the Enterprise Facilitation diagnoses what is wrong with the patient and suggests a remedy.  Enterprise Facilitators’ diagnostic tools are introduced and their uses are explained.  Great emphasis is placed on the Trinity of Management concept and its implication for the success of new and expanding businesses.

» Outcome 4-1: At the end of this module, the participants will start to integrate the philosophical and the practical side of Enterprise Facilitation and start to understand the importance of a discipline that provides not only respect for the clients, but also the intellectual means to help transform their dreams into viable, and vastly more resilient, businesses.

Module 5: Practicing the Tools in Small Workshops
This session is organized with the assistance of the participants who volunteer to use the tools in mock up sessions. Personal, family, and friends’ experiences are used to show how the Trinity of Management could and/or should be used to help the venture succeed. The tools are used in a group setting to encourage discussion and debate.

» Outcome 5-1: By the end of Day Two the participants will start to integrate all the new learning into a cohesive picture of what Enterprise Facilitation truly is. Participants will be able to apply the simple but effective methodology to commercial and social enterprises.

Day Three - Capturing The Passion Of Civic Leaders
Module 6: Community Role, Readiness, and Capacity Building
Communities have many choices in deciding what economic development initiatives are appropriate. This module describes the two legs of development and the relationship between strategic and responsive in local economic development.

» Outcome 6-1: Community leaders will gain an understanding of the missing leg in economic development and of the need to capture the hidden entrepreneurial spirit present in their communities.

» Outcome 6-2: Leaders will discuss the role of entrepreneurs in optimizing the resources and infrastructures already present in their communities.

Module 7: Community Involvement in Enterprise Facilitation
This module describes in detail the role that community leadership plays in establishing an Enterprise Facilitation project. Governance, recruitment of the Enterprise Facilitator, training, support, and fundraising are discussed to explain that there cannot be an Enterprise Facilitation project without a committed and dedicated local board of management.

» Outcome7-1: At the end of this day it will be clear to all participants that Enterprise Facilitation is a modern version of barn raising and that it requires enlightened self-interest to succeed. Civic leaders will be able to evaluate the readiness of their communities to embrace the Enterprise Facilitation approach.

Module 8: Presentation by Guest Community Leaders and Enterprise Facilitators
Guests and practitioners of Enterprise Facilitation will share their experiences from early introduction of Enterprise Facilitation to their communities to the most recent outcomes. Some guests will be present; others will be reached by telephone or interactive television. Care will be taken to match the demographics of the guest communities with those of the participants.

» Outcome 8-1: Participants will hear first hand accounts of Enterprise Facilitation at work and how communities have built their own capacity to capture the entrepreneurial spirit of local people.

Module 9: Q&A Among Guests and Participants
This session is dedicated to free questions and answers to allow participants the ability to conduct an informal due diligence on Enterprise Facilitation. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions of other community leaders who are involved in the process to ascertain the effectiveness of the approach.

» Outcome 9-1: This is the final day of the Retreat and it allows participants to clarify, by way of free questioning, every issue of concern from funding for the project to data collection, from use of the media to project sustainability.

» Outcome 9-2: Participants will be able to decide whether Enterprise Facilitation complements the other economic development strategies present in their communities and whether the model is worth pursuing.

Retreat Logistics

» Retreats can run between 2 and 5 days.

» They are usually held ‘off-site’ so that all participants have the opportunity to be totally immersed in the subject matter.

» We ask that all participants have read Ripples from the Zambezi as a pre-requisite of the program

» Retreats bring together civic leaderships from several communities which creates opportunities for networking and exchange of experience and insights.

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