Business Barn Raising

I’ve been thinking about something a lot lately, a little idea that started niggling in the back of my head and kept coming up again and again when I was thinking about economic development, running a business in a rural area and joining a Chamber of Commerce; all activities geared towards building community prosperity, jobs and a successful business.

I kept coming back to what I learned about barn raising in school when I was young.

If you’re not familiar, barn raisings occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries in rural areas where communities would come together and help a farmer build his barn, something that was usually too big of an undertaking for any one family to achieve on their own.

We still do these things in a modern context, coming together to help someone finish their house they’ve built, to move or to prepare meals when someone has a baby.

But I’m wondering if we can apply these same principles of community, and sharing what we can afford to give – our time, labour and knowledge, to help family members, friends and neighbours to build their own small businesses, just as we used to help them build their barns in a bygone era?

I think this idea is particularly reminiscent of barn raising, and particularly applicable, as barn raisings were, to rural communities and rural businesses, where accessing support and resources can be more challenging.

This idea is a take on incubators.  Which, whether bricks and mortar online, seek to seed ideas, generate energy, provide support and help businesses grow and thrive.  And they do this by providing a workspace or collaborative idea-space.

I know we help each other all the time, but what if we had more clear knowledge of who was good at what when it came to business related skills?  And what if those people could come together for a weekend, or evening or even remotely over a week, to provide assist with the expertise needed to help someone else start up their business?

Whether it’s getting a website set up, a crash course in processing payments by phone or any other variety of knowledge and skills we have to share that others need, I think the the idea of a Business Barn Raising is super interesting and has potential.


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