As a community, we are quite familiar with the troubling state of the Memphis economy (unemployment 50% above the national average and country-leading poverty levels for comparably-sized cities). The persistence of these and comparable indicators leads to the inescapable conclusion that traditional approaches to talent and economic development are insufficient by themselves to help Memphis re-establish a thriving economy.
Fast-growing entrepreneurial companies helped cities across the US transition their economies and establish the foundation for long-term economic success. Young, entrepreneurial companies generated almost all net new jobs in the US over the last 30 years, and a disproportionate share of high-tech or knowledge workers for the greatest economic impact. Unfortunately, the Memphis economy generated few of these companies and our workforce in high-tech or knowledge jobs is 25% to 50% lower than national averages. With these workers trailing US averages and low levels of investment in this talent and support of entrepreneurship, Memphis has both a challenge and an opportunity.
Today, JumpStart, Inc. and Start Co. are pleased to release MEMx, a plan-in-action to advance the economic future of Memphis with the guiding principle that “Entrepreneurship is for Everyone.”
MEMx was built by JumpStart, Inc., Start Co., and the input of over 200 Memphis area organizations and community leaders who participated in the research and thinking. It is the most comprehensive survey of entrepreneurship support conducted in Memphis and already activates partners aligned for making measured gains in entrepreneurial activity in 2014.
This isn’t just startups for startups’ sake – it’s a culture and a practice to enhance our community in general, transforming the Memphis economy and area talent using entrepreneurship that is inclusive of minorities, women, students, and social sectors. MEMx is certainly built on recent bright spots, but also it is a plan for continued iteration and experimentation.
“Entrepreneurship for Everyone” is the key to transforming the Memphis economy.
Will you join the movement?
The MEMx reports from the past 6 months of work conducted by JumpStart, Inc. can be found here. There is A LOT of detail in there between the primary and secondary research, articulations, plans-in-action, principles, appendices, etc. We certainly encourage you to read about MEMx but also to reach out to Start Co. to learn more and join the movement.
With a strong entrepreneurial legacy and a few recent successes, now is the time for Memphis to invest in strategies necessary to create the much-needed entrepreneurial culture, talent, and companies that will move our community forward.