By John Steffanic
Plumas Sierra County Fair Manager
In case you haven’t heard, there will be a meeting at the Greenville Elementary School cafeteria this Wednesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. A key component of any recovery for Indian Valley is the creativity and ambition of its residents. This meeting, and one more later this month on Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m., is where the economic rubber hits the road. The proposed Indian Valley Innovation Hub will be explained, and then it will up to those who attend as to whether it happens or not.
Briefly, the Indian Valley Innovation Hub is a concept where local thinkers, inventors, businesspeople, creators, craftspeople and investors will come together and explore ideas for products and services that can be sold outside of Plumas County. Those last four words in the previous sentence are the critical notion. We will always support our local businesses, and hope new business people will step up to serve the needs of Greenville and Indian Valley, but if we are ever to see robust economic growth, it is imperative that we bring dollars from outside the county. The purpose of this meeting is to see if there are enough ideas and resources to make that happen.
What can you expect at these two meetings? First, the idea of an Innovation Hub will be described, along with the time line of when it can begin innovating. Second, everyone in attendance will be asked for ideas of products and services that we can export out of Plumas County. It’s all about ideas. Do not worry about explaining an idea, or selling the idea, or even knowing anything about the idea. We mainly want to know if there are an abundance of ideas in our community worth pursuing. We will not be diving into the nuts and bolts on any suggestions, we just want to write them up on a note board. Thirdly, we need to know what kind of resources are available in our community. We already have a few lined up, and will share those at the meetings, but we have to believe there are a lot more out there. What do we mean by resources? Tools, equipment, printers, software, space, furniture and things we haven’t even thought of. We need retired experts; working experts; teachers for the tools and equipment; professionals with expertise in law, finance, risk and business; researchers and mentors. We need people that can sell things and people that know how to deliver things. Get the picture? Finally, you can expect a quick analysis of what we learn and a firm plan of what we are going to do, one way or the other, by early May.
What should you not expect? There will be no judging of ideas as to whether they are good or bad. Do not expect someone there with a checkbook to start buying ideas or to start a payroll. This is a bootstrap project. The goal is to help people get their ideas off the ground with help from the Hub, any way it can. Part of the plan is to seek financing for some of these ideas, and all ideas will be protected for the creators. It will be a while before you will find a paid staff at the Hub, but we still hope it will be fully staffed with people that believe in their community and want to see it prosper with the ideas that will come from this exciting project. It all starts with a meeting, and if you are there, you can say you were there when it all began!