This week, I’ve focused upon a number of people and projects in my home county of Effingham County, IL, where I was born and raised and lived most of my adult life with the exception of college and seven years in Brazil. I hope that you will excuse my boasting this once about this great community. I’ll go back to reporting on other towns/regions around the USA next week.
One of the comments that I often hear as I travel around southern/central IL is, “What is in the water in Effingham County? There are so many entrepreneurs there, especially when you compare them to our county.” I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit of Effingham goes back to our German ancestors who left everything and moved to a strange, wild land. Their ancestors have been encouraged by family and friends to start new businesses and to help other entrepreneurs to take the new business plunge.
Those many entrepreneurs have put together loosely tied groups that have been willing to back new entrepreneurs like the Campbells and Martin Hubbard. They’ve understood how important growing your own entrepreneurs is to the future of a community and have been willing to risk some of their own hard-earned funds to help others.
That same openness/giving attitude is what helped to fund the starting of the Effingham County Foundation and funding for the new Sports Center. Many of the entrepreneurs who donated to that project will never use its facilities but each understands why projects like it are critical to the future of Effingham County.
There will be few direct jobs created by any of these projects like the Rosebud Theater, Firefly Grill, Sports Center and the Biking Trail, but these types of projects are going to be increasingly critical to the future of Effingham and its region. The importance is going to be noted most by the next two generations, Gen Xers and Gen Yers (also known as the Millennial Generation).
These two younger generations have an approach that is much different from my Baby Boomer Generation or my parents’ Greatest Generation. Mine and my parents’ generations approach when exiting from school was to find a job and then to move to wherever that job might be. These next two generations are going to figure out where they want to live and then find a job when they get to their ideal location. And, unless you have exceptional quality of life attributes like the bike trails, entertainment, recreational amenities, etc. you are going to be overlooked for those areas that do offer those amenities.
The entrepreneurs of Effingham County understand the importance of improving the quality of life for the future of the community. Do your entrepreneurs Get It?