Our friend, Dorian Spears, at Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, emailed with an update about our community’s Economic Gardening Program, and we thought you’d be interested, particularly if you know someone who would like to apply. 

Here’s her update:

Economic Gardening is a way for you and others in leadership roles to connect your business clients and prospects with added value at no out of pocket cost to them or you.  Participant time commitment over a 4 to 6 week period is roughly 8 to 12 hours of the CEO’s time.  The total program time is 36 hours working with a team of strategic advisors in the areas of market research, sales lead development, social and online media.  EG is not a loan program. It provides strategic advisory services to nurture “hometown” second – stage growth companies in almost all industries and currently companies located in Memphis/Shelby County.

The purpose of the Memphis/Shelby County EG program is to grow jobs and business revenue by providing strategic advisory services to second-stage companies located in Memphis and Shelby County. Strategic advisory services are provided by a team of certified experts through the Edward Lowe Foundation.  The Program is all virtual, with services delivered through a secure software system and by conference call.  Each participant CEO customizes and prioritizes the focus of EG services, primarily in the areas of market research, geographic information systems, competitive analysis, workforce development, and internet marketing.  The local Memphis/Shelby County EG team recruits participants and manages a two-year follow-on program for EG graduates.

To qualify, companies must be located in Shelby County, have between 7 and 100 employees, and earn between $700k and $50 million in sales. The first phase of the trial program was a partnership funded by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team and EDGE that was completed March 2014. The second phase of the program is funded by the EDGE.  EG is a way to meet the needs of second stage companies to help them grow revenues and create jobs in Shelby County.  The program is facilitated via conference calls, emails, and confidential cloud-based software. No travel is required.


16   Slots left to fill

22   Graduates

9   Current Participants

7.5  Jobs created

$110K Investment in strategic advisory services with companies that have completed the program with the Edward Lowe Foundation

Value proposition: They have access to a team of experts as well as an extensive data base from the Lowe Foundation.  A benefit to the participant is that they have access to resources valued at between $20k and $50k, typically available only to Fortune 500 size companies.

We are intentional in our recruitment efforts as it relates to diversity in ownership structure, industry type, and census tract.  This program is another way to help build the pipeline of qualified business enterprises that choose to call Memphis/Shelby County their home.

The web link to apply is:  https://memphis.nationalcentereg.org/