Recently we’ve been talking a lot about what we learned during the first few years of our Virtual Business Incubator. A program that has helped activate over 100+ businesses, in 60 rural communities across EVERY region of Nova Scotia (and beyond) in just 24 months.
From 2018 to 2020, we had over 450 applications for 200 spots. Something about our program really resonated with people and we wanted to know what it was! When we interviewed everyone who participated in these first few cohorts the vast majority revealed an interesting fact:
Prior to working with us, they had NEVER participated in any business or entrepreneurship program, despite the fact there were a TON of resources on their doorstep.
The reason they felt this way is because they felt the resources in their community weren’t “for them”–ie. they didn’t “feel” like entrepreneurs and felt that existing programs were meant for people with “real” businesses.
To repeat: this wasn’t a minority opinion. This is how most of the people we spoke to felt. How many hundreds and thousands of people felt this way? What this insight told us is that there is a MASSIVE pool of untapped talent sitting on the sidelines in every rural community.
The Magic Word To Unlock Rural Communities: Approachability.
Entrepreneurs need to know that their local resources are ABSOLUTELY designed for them. There are a few different ways we can communicate that message.
First of all: it’s not enough to be available and accessible. These are both great qualities, and many programs across North America fit this standard, but entrepreneurs on the sideline need a little bit more in order to feel comfortable taking the first step.
We need to make sure that whatever we’re working on feels approachable for our target audience. To do that we can ask questions like:
- Are we using the right language?
- Are we consistent in our messaging?
- Are we listening?
- How do we show our audience we’re listening?
- Are we friendly and inviting?
- Are we being too formal?
- Are we consistent in our messaging throughout the entire process?
Are You Interested In Connecting?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an entrepreneur or someone who is passionate about their community and your business. If you want to help unleash the untapped potential of your community or you have a business idea here are two ways you can help:
1. Share this article with one friend. Do you have a partner in crime? Do you know people who have BIG ideas and are looking to unleash them? Who comes to mind? Do you have a name in your head? This person would love to hear from you. Think of the ripple effect you could start!
2. If you want to plug into our resources, we would LOVE to meet you. The easiest way for you to do that is to pick a time in our calendar and we’ll do the rest!