15th Annual North Country Symposium

“Exploring Sectors That Drive the North Country's Economy: 
Mapping Systems...Identifying Gaps”

Held on May 8th, 2017 at the

Eben Holden Conference Center, St. Lawrence University

Supported by St. Lawrence University’s Ellen C. Burt ’42 Endowment
for North Country Education

The 15th annual North Country Symposium, held on May 8th, 2017, built upon the foundation of the 2016 Symposium by moving from a focus on the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem to a focus on four economic sectors that are strategic to development in the North Country: Agriculture, Arts, Tourism, and Energy. 

At the 2016 Symposium, stakeholders explored how entrepreneurial ecosystems can be systemically strengthened across the region and the important role communities play in that ecosystem development.  At the 2017 Symposium, stakeholders then looked more closely at the four key sectors, using a value chain tool to map the system of entrepreneurs and businesses, support organizations and demand partners who work together to create a stronger sector that meets individual interests and drives the broader economy.  With a view of the sectors’ value chains, participants identified gaps in these systems, including people who are not engaged but should be, and spent time generating ideas about how to fill those gaps.  The full participant body then came together to see what commonalities exist across the sectors.  The most common gap across sectors was a lack of coordination of organizations working to advance the sectors.

Dr. Deborah Markley, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, returned to the Symposium to lead this group work that helped us better understand the economic opportunities in the North Country.

At lunch, a series of “pop-up reports” highlighting entrepreneurial activities happening in the region over the year was also held.  This included:

  • A report on the St. Lawrence County Small Business Group by Atlantic Testing Laboratories CEO Marijean Remington;
  • A report on the Energy Efficiency and Economic Development study commissioned by the North Country Energy Task Force, by Symposium Coordinator Ben Dixon; and
  • Comments from Kate Fish, Executive Director of the Adirondack North Country Association. 
  • Symposium participants also shared updates from the floor.

For more information on the 2017 North Country Symposium proceedings, see the following: