Economic Gardening

As we see the world’s economy constantly changing, fostering the entrepreneurial spirit becomes increasingly important for the health and well-being of our community.

As an entrepreneur, you are the creator, technician, and employee. Have you thought about your transition of working in the company, to working on the company? Are you engaged in decisions about survival or are you working on decisions surrounding business growth?

The Edward Lowe Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to accelerate entrepreneurship and its impact on community and economic development. For more information on the Foundation, please visit

Ottawa County and Sandusky County have partnered together to launch a rural economic gardening pilot project, in conjunction with The Edward Lowe Foundation, to assist our second-stage companies with strategies for growth.

Economic gardening is an innovative entrepreneur-centered economic growth strategy that offers balance to the traditional economic practice of business recruitment, often referred to as "economic hunting." It was pioneered by Chris Gibbons in 1989 in the City of Littleton, Colorado, in conjunction with the Center for the New West. While it was introduced as a demonstration program to deal with the sudden erosion of economic conditions following the relocation of the largest employer in the city at that time, it has emerged as a prototype for a rapidly expanding movement of like-minded economic developers looking for additional methods to generate truly sustainable economic growth for their communities, regions or states.

The three basic elements of gardening are:

  1. Providing critical information needed by businesses to survive and thrive.
  2. Developing and cultivating an infrastructure that goes beyond basic physical infrastructure and includes quality of life, a culture that embraces growth and change, and access to intellectual resources, including qualified and talented employees.
  3. Developing connections between businesses and the people and organizations that can help take them to the next level — business associations, universities, roundtable groups, service providers and more.

For more information on the Ottawa County & Sandusky County Economic Gardening Initiative, and to find out if the program is right for your business, visit our website at

Ottawa County Improvement Corporation

8043 West State Route 163 Suite 100 | Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449

Toll Free: (866) 734-6789 | Local: (419) 898-6242 | Fax: (419) 898-6244

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