risk-takersAre You an Innovator? In my role as the Chamber of Commerce President, I am often asked about the future of our community. How do we turn things around? How do we move forward?  What will Richland County look like in the future?

Those can be hard questions for anyone to answer with any degree of certainty. What I do know is that our community has been built by a series of strong entrepreneurs who have created businesses, watched them grow and then supported the community in many generous ways.

I would like to suggest that the future of Richland County will rest in the hands of the innovators, the risk-takers, the ones that are crazy enough to believe that their idea will succeed. I don’t think the future rests in the hands of just a chosen few either. We’re living in the age of the “Innovation Economy” and it’s dominated by those who are disrupting the accepted way of doing business.
—Jodie Perry, IOM

Webster’s Dictionary defines innovation as “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods.” Examples about all are around us! Facebook and other social media tools have completely changed the way and the speed that we interact with other people all over the world. Other technology such as Uber or Airbnb is disrupting the way we travel (and it’s happening much faster than the regulators understand). On a local level, we have an innovative tech company like LocaLynx who is changing the way consumers find coupons and connect with businesses.

Richland County is in the midst of enormous change and we have a strong need for more innovators to step up and help us move forward. There are a tremendous amount of resources available locally to help you get started. If you are an innovator who sees the opportunity to start a new business you can get help from organizations like Braintree Business Development Center, SCORE or the Small Business Development Center. Starting a business is a huge risk, but it can also have huge rewards.

If you have had an idea rolling around about a new business or a new way of doing things, why not take some time to check it out and see if it’s possible?

Maybe you have an innovative idea, but no idea how to make a business. That’s okay! We have people who can help you with that!

Perhaps you are an innovator but you don’t want to start your own business, that is okay too! You can introduce new ideas or methods right where you are. I have tried to do that through my work with the Chamber and I know there are so many wonderful organizations who are looking for people to help.

We’re in the age of the Innovation Economy and if we want Richland County to succeed we all need to start thinking like innovators. I’m excited to get to work.

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