Economic Development Week, Cup of Joey, Richmond, Disruptive Entrepreneurship, and More!
We catch up with Jerry Jones Jr., Economic Development Director for the city of Richmond, and find out what’s new with his department since our last chat in Spring 2021. Initially referred to as the Development Corporation of Richmond, Jerry’s department has been going through a rebrand to refer to itself now as Develop Richmond. Along with their name change comes a renewed focus on small businesses and startups, and an exciting revamp of their upcoming Economic Development Week (May 9th – 13th).
In this podcast, we talk with Jerry about:
- [5:01] Catching up with Jerry since his Spring 2021 appearance
- [7:45] Focusing on Richmond small businesses instead of corporations
- [21:32] Rebranding Develop Richmond to build a strong community image
- [26:41] Explaining the schedule for May’s Richmond Economic Development Week
- [37:30] Disruptive business and defying expectations in small business marketing
Adapting to the needs of Richmond small business owners
When speaking to Jerry for the first time in 2021, we spoke a great deal about business development in Richmond from an all-encompassing standpoint. However, this time around, Jerry was quick to turn our conversation towards the focus of small businesses and startups. For his team at Develop Richmond, the spotlight is on these local entrepreneurs like never before, especially in providing resources and opportunities to speed up growth and increase financial resources.
“We’re recognizing that there needs to be a very strong ecosystem built for those small businesses.”
Focusing on employing the community and encouraging local businesses
For Jerry, focusing on small businesses and entrepreneurs is a no-brainer for Richmond, especially from the standpoint of employment. Large corporations may seem appealing to many counties like Fort Bend, but Jerry clarifies that these big businesses rarely stay when things get tough. Instead, small businesses are run by individuals connected to the community in a bigger way than just location. The entrepreneurs of Richmond and Fort Bend county remain closely tied to the people around them and dedicated to remaining in the area.
“The people are right here in the community, they live here…and so, when you see them, they’re not so quick to close the doors and fold, they stick it out with you.”
Providing free and accessible educational and networking events
When it comes to resources like Economic Development Week, Cup of Joey, and Small Business Breakfast, Develop Richmond prides itself on opening up as many opportunities as possible to as many potential entrepreneurs as possible. Instead of placing educational resources or networking events behind exclusionary restrictions or massive paywalls, we should be focusing on making successful small business ownership a choice that any individual should be able to make, not a privilege for a select few.
“We’re trying to remove any barriers in having small businesses participate.”
Encouraging young adult entrepreneurs to act on their business dreams
Entrepreneurship is not just an adult decision, and Jerry believes in encouraging even the youngest members of our Richmond community to get involved with small business ownership. From opportunities at Blockhouse Block Parties to involvement in the Economic Development Week Boutique Crawl, Jerry says that children should be encouraged to consider entrepreneurship in the same way we ask them to consider future career choices and colleges.
“We have to teach them that you don’t have to wait until you’re 18 or 20 to start talking about wanting a business…”
Get in touch with Jerry Jones Jr. through email at email@example.com or by phone at (281) 342-5456.
Mark your calendars for this year’s Economic Development Week, happening May 9th through 13th!
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