Imagine my shock this afternoon when: (A) I actually learned something from cabq.gov, and (B) was pleased with what I read. Such are the afternoon delights that accompany a day off of my regular job to work on a side writing project at Flying Star, but actually doing more coffee-drinking and people-watching than writing.
Who is Ernesto Sirolli? Well, let me fill you in. He's only the most charming Italian man ever (Lenti family excluded, of course). He's only the star of the community-building consultant world. He's only the mustached, irresistible man behind the Sirolli Institute, the place for enterprise facilitation and community development that actually works. And yes, this man is coming to Albuquerque, to the Southeast Heights, actually, on October 5, to launch a Sirolli Institite enterprise facilitation project here. This is great news for ABQ. Here's why:
The Sirolli Institute is all about discovering untapped resources in communities that are struggling, and then re-building local economies from within. The Sirolli philosophy isn't to plop down a one-size-fits-all community development program onto a community it knows nothing about. Instead, they spend time in communities. They find out what makes that community unique, how it's different than any other place. According to the Sirolli Institute, "the future of every community lies in capturing the passion, intelligence, imagination, and resources of its people." I coudn't agree more. After spending real time in a place, Sirolli&Co identify and help community members who have brilliant ideas and a vision for change get jumpstarted to make their dreams possible.
More from Sirolli:
Enterprise Facilitation is a dynamic tool in the hands of economic development practitioners and civic leaders who wish to grow their economies from within.
Faced with empty industrial development parks and lose /lose incentive packages designed to lure away a large employer from another community, more leaders are turning to Enterprise Facilitation as a relatively inexpensive way to create jobs and businesses with people who have already made the decision to “bloom where they are planted.”
As one professional put it – “When it comes to rural economic development we have two choices: Buffalo Hunting where you go out in search of the “big kill” (a.k.a the major employer who can provide 200 jobs) or the Gardening Economy where you nurture those small, but loyal and deeply rooted local entrepreneurs.”
Enterprise Facilitation favors the gardening economy, but in doing so it makes the pastures greener for all sorts of macro-economic development to occur.
I met Ernesto Sirolli a couple of years ago at the City Council-initiated progessive economic development retreat, Building a World Class City: Albuquerque's Economic Future (hi Javi!). Marjorie and I listened to this guy - and prepare yourself if you go to the Southeast Heights kick-off, because I'm telling you, this man is charming - and something just clicked for me. Listening to his stories of success in communities that many had written off as un-helpable or had targeted for gentrification projects, I thought he'd be perfect for Barelas or the South Valley. And now he's really here, starting work in an ABQ neighborhood in need of some jumpstarting. So Ernesto, welcome back. Ladies, beware. And Southeast Heights, congratulations. Your future is looking bright.
You are invited to the Southeast Heights Sirolli Project launch on October 5th, at 6:30pm in the African American Pavilion at the NM Expo State Fair. Come listen to a lively discussion on how the Southeast Heights community can take charge of its own future, and meet the players in the community who are helping this effort. Ernesto Sirolli will be the keynote speaker.