This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009 - library hosts small business forum

Many people, I'm sure you will be astonished to learn, are more interested in themselves than they are in others.

One of the marks of maturity, however, is this: you begin to notice that all our lives are interdependent. That is, an environment where many people thrive is better for you in the long run than one that's just set up for your immediate convenience.

I was very impressed recently to read of the Town of Castle Rock's extraordinary steps to change longstanding processes to approve residential projects: decks, added rooms, etc. The council's bold leadership suggested that they would simply waive, for a time, associated fees and delays for permits.

Won't the Town lose money, and isn't it in fact facing a severe fiscal crisis?

It will and it is.

But it will also be promoting local businesses, and encouraging people to spend a little money to invest in the asset of their homes, at a time when that money buys more than usual. That business boost improves a community twice -- and maybe three times, because the modest sales tax on such services (buying lumber, etc.) does come back to the Town.

That larger perspective is rare, and is worthy of praise.

It is a fundamental premise of libraries that by pooling all of our knowledge, each of us can get a little smarter. Along that theme, I'm pleased to announce a Small Business Forum. We're holding it at the Highlands Ranch Library from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., on Friday, July 17th. The forum is free and open to all.

We'd like to start off by getting a real read on what's happening in the local business environment from people who know. There's a difference between what you read or hear about the business environment through national and regional media, and what's happening in Douglas County -- and it's a good difference.

Among our speakers will be a commercial real estate broker in Parker (Justin VanLandschoot), a Chamber of Commerce executive in Castle Rock (Pam Ridler), the coordinator of a countywide economic gardening project (Chris Eppers), and a County Commissioner (Jack Hilbert). We'll also hear from a librarian who specializes in answering local business questions (Tina Poliseo, who used to be a stockbroker). The forum will be moderated by Dorothy Hargrove, Manager of the Highlands Ranch Library, and also a member of the Highlands Ranch Chamber Board.

Many economic development people pin their hopes on outside investment -- the arrival of a big box retailer, or major new enterprise. Right now, that kind of activity has slowed.

But the real engine of economic growth, in the long haul, is small business. These are folks who already live in Douglas County. They already have a lot of expertise. They just may have a handle on the Next Big Thing.

Who is the audience for this forum? Entrepreneurs. Have you been nursing a notion that just might help you strike out on your own? It might be that this forum will give you the connection, the encouragement, and the information you need to make that happen.

LaRue's Views are his own.

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