Collaboration Express Transforming Indiana into a Magnet for High-Technology Jobs and Talent

Economic Gardening

A dollar sign in a planting pot

What is Economic Gardening?

In 1987, the Colorado City of Littleton created an entrepreneurial approach to economic development called "Economic Gardening" and, since then, the job base in Littleton has doubled from 15,000 to 30,000.

Our Collaboration Express partner — The Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) — acts as the hub for the Indiana Business Growth Network (IBGN), which is an economic gardening program tailored specifically to help the leaders of second-stage companies grow their businesses. Research and experience have demonstrated that second-stage companies often have the potential for growth, but can face significant barriers that sophisticated information and services are able to address.

The network consists of several partners including the PCRD, the Hoosier Heartland Small Business Development Center, the Parrish Library of Management and Economics at Purdue University, Indiana’s local or regional economic development organizations (LEDOs and REDOs), and others.

Program Eligibility — Is your company in its "second stage"?

The IBGN defines second-stage companies as: 

  • for-profit and privately held,
  • employing between 10 and 99 people,
  • maintaining its principal place of business in Indiana for two years or more,
  • generating revenue between $750,000 and $10 million annually, and
  • those that increased either the number of full-time Indiana employees or gross revenues during two of the past five years.

In addition to custom research services, the IBGN team has the ability to:

  • evaluate markets,
  • run competitor intelligence,
  • follow industry trends and new product releases,
  • track regulations,
  • assist with search engine optimization and web marketing,
  • set up social media campaigns,
  • map customer locations and densities, and
  • evaluate core business strategies.

Economic Gardening Tools

The IBGN’s business growth approach for economic gardening focuses on (1) core business strategy, (2) market intelligence, (3) qualified leads, (4) and leadership and management team development.

The Referral Process

A company should first contact its local economic development organization, which will refer it into the Economic Gardening program, or a company may contact the Purdue Center for Regional Development directly at 765-494-7273. Companies initially complete a company profile and then participate in a conference call with the IBGN team to convey an understanding of the company, its industry and its issues. Most engagements will likely be short, intense and highly focused on the big issues, and the engagement and research period will typically last one to two weeks. 

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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