WSU Partners with Surrounding Counties to Encourage Entrepreneurial Development

KAYSVILLE, Utah – In an unprecedented move, community leaders from Weber, Davis and Morgan counties are developing an initiative with Weber State University to stimulate the creation of new businesses within the three-county region.

County commissioners from Weber, Davis and Morgan counties, along with WSU President Ann Millner, announced the joint enterprise Thursday.
The overall objective of the SEED Weber/Davis/Morgan project is to expand and increase the regional economy. SEED stands for Stimulating the Expansion of Entrepreneurial Development.

“We firmly believe that by cultivating successful entrepreneurs in our region we will diversify and expand our economy, generate high-paying jobs, and create value that will benefit the entire region,” Millner said.

The initiative was launched at a kickoff meeting attended by community and business leaders from all three counties. The gathering helped establish the guiding values and parameters that will shape strategies for fostering the creation of entrepreneur-led businesses.

Regional leaders say the unique tri-county collaboration reflects a growing awareness that local economies are intertwined.

“We simply have to work together,” said Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs. “Entrepreneurship doesn’t know any county boundaries. Working together, we can build on our shared strengths and better use our essential resources.”

“We know that by joining with leaders from the other two counties, Morgan County will be integrated into a regional strategy that will directly benefit those who are interested in starting a business in our county,” said Morgan County Councilman Bruce Sanders.

“Entrepreneurs seek out locations that offer resources and support,” said Weber County Commissioner Craig Dearden, who is concerned that many bright and capable entrepreneurs who live in the tri-county region choose to establish their businesses outside of the area.

“We simply have to give our entrepreneurs a better reason to start and grow their businesses here,” Dearden said. “If we support them with the services they need, they will succeed here.”

The initiative is part of the SEED Utah project introduced and led by Grow Utah Ventures, a private nonprofit organization aimed at encouraging and supporting Utah’s entrepreneurs.

“The backbone of Utah’s economy has been and must continue to be the successful businesses that are created by Utah’s entrepreneurial talent,” said Alan Hall, founder of Grow Utah Ventures and chairman of his own entrepreneurial success, MarketStar, located in Ogden.

“We believe in the talent and capacity of Utah’s entrepreneurs,” said Hall. “We believe that the best way to demonstrate this belief is to provide the financial incentives to the community, and in turn hope they will do all they can to encourage, support and expand future business growth.”

The project is funded in part by the three counties and Weber State University. Additional funds have been provided by the state’s Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) program. Grow Utah Ventures and Zions Bank have made contributions from the private sector.

Leaders from all three counties will engage in a process that involves work sessions, input from expert advisors, and capability assessments that will be under the general direction of the Grow Utah Ventures project director, T. Craig Bott.

“We know what it takes to achieve world-class entrepreneurial-led businesses,” said Bott. “We share our expertise with those communities that participate.”

Grow Utah Ventures directs communities through a methodology designed to uncover areas of opportunity and develop custom strategies to achieve success.

“Launching a high-growth business in Utah requires some key ingredients, and we share that insight through this process,” Bott said.

The project is expected to conclude in December 2007 with a comprehensive strategy that will guide all future initiatives.

T. Craig Bott
Grow Utah Ventures
(801) 593-2267

Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs
(801) 451-3200

Morgan County Councilman Bruce Sanders
(801) 791-1515

Weber County Commissioner Craig Dearden
(801) 399-8588

Weber State University President Ann Millner
(801) 626-6001

Additional Information and Resources:

For more information about Grow Utah Ventures, visit

Visit to learn more about SEED Utah.

T. Craig Bott, Grow Utah Ventures
(801) 593-2267 •