I remember well the first time I was inspired by Ernesto Sirolli. This Wednesday, April 3, at 7 p.m., in the Middle Park High School Auditorium, you can be inspired by him too.
Marise Cipriani, owner of Granby Ranch, introduced him to me after she heard him speak at a mining conference. She thought I should learn about his unique ideas about grassroots economic development and how they could be applied locally. After talking to him for only 30 minutes, I knew his ideas could help Grand County.
Ernesto captivated me right from the start and he helped to spark a drive for economic development in Grand County that is going strong today.
Aside from being a charming man who is a great public speaker, Ernesto has ideas and stories about what some people call community development. These ideas all center on what he calls Enterprise Facilitation, a methodology he developed that is practiced around the world.
Enterprise facilitation is based on harnessing the passion, determination, intelligence and resourcefulness of the local people. It's a program whereby a facilitator guides the entrepreneurial spirit of existing and starting businesses so that people can succeed and be happy in their lives.
The true goal of the method is to nurture an entrepreneurial culture where the people are working at doing what they love and who are able to continue to live in a place that they love.
Watching how Grand County was losing families because they couldn't make a living here and seeing how existing businesses were struggling to survive, his ideas struck a chord with me.
To some this may sound too good to be true and too ethereal to be of any value. But the truth is that enterprise facilitation also instills time-tested and some might say conservative principles of business management.
Enterprise Facilitation teaches that solitude is the death of the entrepreneur and that business people should understand and implement the principles of sound management so that they can build a team of people with specific skills to help them run their businesses successfully.
Knowing all this, the Town of Granby agreed to fund, with Marise's non-profit Kapoks, a year of an enterprise facilitation program. Now in its second year, it is being used in all of Grand County under the auspices of the Grand Enterprise Initiative, with funding from Grand County, the Town of Granby, the Town of Winter Park, Freeport McMoran and Kapoks.
Patrick Brower has been trained as our Enterprise Facilitator and in just 13 months we've had impressive results. In 2012 the Grand Enterprise Initiative's Enterprise Facilitator Patrick Brower saw 57 clients, opened five businesses and helped to create six new jobs, adding $87,000 to the local economy.
We do one thing: We offer free and confidential business management coaching to people who want to start, expand or refine businesses in Grand County.
The Grand Enterprise Initiative works closely with Grand County Economic Development Coordinator DiAnn Butler. We collaborate to enhance the entrepreneurial spirit of Grand County, connecting aspiring and existing business owners with county and regional resources while identifying and unifying the diverse economic needs of the county.
I have learned, while serving as chairman of the board for the Grand Enterprise Initiative, that passion is the key ingredient for success in our local economy when it is combined with the skills to make that passion a reality.
I know you'll be inspired, just like I was. Come and see for yourself at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at the Middle Park High School auditorium.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call Patrick at 970-531-0632 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Jynnifer Pierro, chairman of the management team for the Grand Enterprise Initiative, is mayor of Granby, a Granby business owner and a long-time resident of Grand County.