Best Practices

Measuring Data and Creating Impactful Economic Reports

Published Oct 05, 2021 by Pola Firestone

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Data captured from the small businesses supported by SourceLink® affiliate organizations provides valuable information for our network to report to their community stakeholders. At our recent SourceLink Quarterly Conversation on September 23, three affiliates shared their best practices in collecting and reporting impactful insights.

Tracking and supporting job creation

Cameron Cushman and Marco Johnson, from Fort Worth’s Sparkyard, shared their recent jobs report, which illustrates the economic impact of young local companies. Data was extracted from the 2018 Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) report from the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 25,000 jobs were created in 2018 by firms 0-1 years old in Tarrant County. Although the numbers are impressive, the Startup Fort Worth White Paper that the Sparkyard team developed to build on the data includes community-sourced recommendations to further improve their economy through a focus on startups.

Showcase your impact

Jahannie Torres Rodriguez from Colmena66 in Puerto Rico presented a nine-step approach to creating economic impact reports that not only showcase the results of research but effectively communicate the story of her organization’s work. Jahannie found success with mapping data from Colmena’s SourceLink CRM, surveys, webinars and events, social media, and email marketing. Identifying the audience and determining what is important for that audience to learn helps determine the structure and language of the report. Aligning the data with what is important as well as providing contextual information such as geographic information and current economic forces will make the report relevant. Creating an outline to sequence the information and including a variety of charts along with graphic design that is consistent with the organization’s brand will make it more readable and interesting. Launching the report in newsletters, websites, social media, videos and meetups ensures broad distribution. Finally, she suggests sharing success stories and quotes, along with calls to action in the report.

Update on funding from the EDA

Our special guest, Mark Werthmann, Economic Development Representative for Nebraska, Kansas and western Missouri U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration joined us to discuss current funding programs and opportunities from the EDA. Under the American Rescue Plan, the EDA received $3 billion in supplemental funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better. We appreciate Mark joining us to share this information with our affiliates.

News from affiliates

We welcomed new communities to the SourceLink network including University of Puerto Rico, Startup Hutch (Hutchinson, KS) and the City of Farmington, MN.

DeNita Lacking-Quinn, from The Dallas BRAIN, announced a new Small Business Center to be located in the Dallas Public Library. The Dallas BRAIN will soon be rebranded as Source Dallas.

SourceLink Affiliate Conversations

In 2021, SourceLink organized several virtual conversations on specific topics such as marketing outreach and engaging with resource partners to provide additional support to our affiliates. In addition, we continue to support statewide affiliates that meet quarterly to discuss their unique challenges.  Quarterly Conversations, an exclusive benefit for affiliate members, take place in March, June, September and December. Agendas includes topics, speakers and discussions suggested by our community of network builders and is an opportunity to share best practices and collaborate with one another. For more information about becoming a SourceLink affiliate and joining our conversations contact Dara Macan at dmacan@joinsourcelink.com.


Pola Firestone of SourceLink

Pola Firestone is the relationship manager and affiliate liaison for SourceLink. Through her outreach work, she has a window into the challenges of building entrepreneurial ecosystems, and uses that knowledge to help inform new products and solutions to the SourceLink network