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BRAIN Aims To Help Small Businesses Grow

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Going from idea to execution involves a lot of learning. Entrepreneurship is a form of literacy and involves mastering content on how to successfully start and grow a business. It requires learning special ways of thinking and acting to maintain focus and momentum. No one is born with all the knowledge required to succeed as a business founder, making sense of these complex issues and choices means mastering a specialized type of literacy. Business founders need to learn a new vocabulary and the customs of the business world. This learning can happen faster when supported by a dense network of trustworthy guides and advisers. This is why Dallas’ Office of Economic Development has officially partnered with the Dallas Public Library on a new program called the Dallas Business Resource and Information Network (BRAIN), which will serve as the city’s new tool to promote entrepreneurial literacy and local business development, via the 28 branches spread throughout the city of Dallas.

Entrepreneurship is a form of literacy and involves mastering content on how to successfully start and grow a business.

What would our communities look like if a well-grounded culture of entrepreneurship became strong and robust? What if scores of strong microbusinesses began to emerge and flourish in all corners of our city? The thousands of successful entrepreneurs in Dallas and the dozens of business ecosystem resources that provide training, mentoring, and funding are the means to spread entrepreneurial literacy across the city. Random encounters are not enough to foster this level of entrepreneurship, but what if we could dramatically scale up the scope and spread of such knowledge? What options and prospects would then open before us? Can we create more spaces where entrepreneurial learning is possible?

The thousands of successful entrepreneurs in Dallas and the dozens of business ecosystem resources that provide training, mentoring, and funding are the means to spread entrepreneurial literacy across the city.

As Manager of the Business and Technology division of the J. Erik Jonsson Library in downtown Dallas, I often reflect on the library’s relationship to community education and development. On a daily basis, I meet people from across the city who long to take control of their economic destiny, either through self-employment or by starting a micro-business. Against this backdrop, it makes sense for the Dallas Public Library to partner with Dallas’ Office of Economic Development, helping to foster a culture of partnership and collaboration. Together, our two City departments are combining our unique resources to create new digital and physical spaces for people to learn and practice entrepreneurship, while having easy access to a network of reliable business resources and information.

Libraries have always been about fostering a culture of learning. We have always found ways to connect the curious with the passionate, to amplify the voices of citizens and to instill confidence in the art of using information to meet complex challenges. Neighborhoods that create local jobs and retain the flow of dollars through the local economy are less vulnerable to the vagaries of outside decisions and forces. In this way, citizens become the protagonists of their own story.

Neighborhoods that create local jobs and retain the flow of dollars through the local economy are less vulnerable to the vagaries of outside decisions and forces.

Indeed, the free public library movement kicked off in the 1880s in response to a wave of 12 million minority immigrants who arrived seeking brighter prospects and a better life. Today, the challenges are different, but the essential mission has not changed. Nor have the deep challenges of the 21st Century, when so many of our fundamental systems are so far from a state of equilibrium. Together, we can rise in the spirit of constructive resilience, engage the community, remove barriers to entry, and help foster a culture of learning and empowerment.

 

To learn more about the evolving partnership between the Dallas Public Library and the Dallas’ Office of Economic Development, visit us at thedallasbrain.org or on the 5th floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, in downtown Dallas, and let us know how we can help you.


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Mark Gilman, is the Manager of the Business & Technology division of the J. Erik Jonsson Library in downtown Dallas. Mark has a lifelong interest in environmental issues, social transformation and(...)

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