In spite of a long history of success, new economic development director Joe Kerr has cancelled the city’s entrepreneur assistance program because “entrepreneur” sounds too French. In a meeting with local press and business owners he also justified the major policy change saying, “Entrepreneur is also hard to spell.”
Locally owned businesses have been an economic foundation of the city because the entrepreneurs and their employees live in the area. This increases the local economic multiplier as they re-circulate their earnings through local spending. Multiple research studies from Civic Economics, Institute for Local Self Reliance, and American Independent Business Alliance confirm this economic benefit.
To amplify the benefits of entrepreneurship the city has implemented multiple economic development programs including a business incubator located in unused space in the city library, startup training from the Small Business Development Center, online entrepreneur assistance on the city’s website using SizeUp software, and is currently planning a downtown celebration for National Small Business Week in May.
Director Kerr explained, “Our city doesn’t need an entrepreneurship assistance program. What good has any entrepreneur ever done for the economy anyway? This is America. We don’t need French words. Why can’t we just have a business owner assistance program? ‘Business owner’ is less syllables…well, it’s the same number of syllables but I think you know what I mean. ‘Skinny bread’ is easier to spell than baguette.”
The Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Improvement District disagree with eliminating entrepreneurial support programs. Together they have already collected enough signatures to place a measure on the ballot for the next election. It will make the Entrepreneurship Assistance Program permanently funded and with no name change. Chamber of Commerce President, Agathe Zeublouze said, “I’m really sad about this.”
Mayor Hugh Morris responded, “When we hired Director Kerr, we thought that he would be a liaison to the business community and bring avant-garde ideas about economic development. Although he leads our department, he has not been given carte blanche. It may seem like a cliché, but his faux pas is like déjà vu. After all, we had to terminate our last economic developer whose fake support of our entrepreneurs was just a façade. Of course, we wouldn’t fire him directly as that would have to be done vis-à-vis our city manager.”
Reporting on this story comes to you from Renata Rapporteur. Happy April Fools!