Economic Development Organizations face many challenges in achieving their goals. Many EDOs struggle to allocate their limited resources to all of their target audiences, including job seekers, existing companies, new organizations, big businesses, small businesses and startups. While it’s difficult to address every audience with one program, it is sometimes possible to incorporate more than one audience at a time. For example, small business and startups may share many of the same qualities and therefore need similar programs.

It can be difficult to distinguish small businesses and startups, but it’s important to understand the differences to ensure you’re giving each the best aid possible and in turn, helping you reach your economic growth goals.

Small businesses typically operate within established fields and the business owner typically has a good amount of experience in that field. Startups however, are brand new, generally in technology related fields, and often are selling a product that’s never been seen before. Each organization comes with its own set of unique challenges and problems that your EDO can help solve.

Small Business Needs

According to an Economic Strategies Information Brief by, small businesses already have experience in their field and their main areas of concern are how to run the business smoothly and how to finance their endeavors. This is where an EDO can help the small business succeed. Small businesses will need tools and resources to get their business started and continued support and resources throughout their first few years. Many Economic Development Organizations have websites to show those interested in starting their own business what it takes to start a business, how to plan and run a business effectively, and a short pitch explaining why they should start a business in that particular EDO region. The goal for the EDO is to be a guide and supporter of the small business and to encourage growth and job opportunities in the area. These resources will also be useful for startups who may need help figuring out how to create their business. The EDO website could be targeted at both.

Startup Needs

Startups are significantly different from small business, not only in their newness but also in their potential to grow. The same article from states that technology-based startups have a significant growth opportunity, which can bring a boom of economic development and jobs to an area. However, startups face the need for significant funding and often don’t see income right away, which makes them high risk. Many EDOs are launching accelerator programs for startups to coach and train the organization to pitch their ideas effectively and work through their startup venture, which can help the startup succeed. These resources can also be helpful to small businesses who are interested in getting external funding.


By providing web-based supporting materials and training programs to your small businesses and startups, you can expect to see an increase in your overall entrepreneurship development. As these organizations grow they will create more jobs and a positive economic impact.

As the startups and small businesses you support grow, one of their biggest challenges may be finding great local talent to fill key positions. Your organization can help meet this need by providing a high quality, curated list of local positions on a job board that is part of your website. To help understand the needs of your stakeholders, including small businesses and startups, download the 8 requirements of a successful job board ebook, so you can properly select a job board that fits their needs.