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Final Intern Blog: Madalyn Dessy

I am so grateful for this opportunity I have had with LEAP and I cannot believe it is coming to a close! I have learned so much about not only economic development, but also inclusive entrepreneurship and what it takes to run a successful program.   

One of my main takeaways from my internship was the importance of inclusive entrepreneurialism in economic development. I remember being asked in my interview, “how do you think equity is important in economic development?” I can now confidently say that it is important to incorporate equity into economic development as to equally distribute funding and resources throughout communities. When funding and resources are equally distributed, individuals receive opportunities to grow and shape their communities. When this happens, they are able to provide, live up to their goals, and increase their quality of life, while also creating jobs and bringing business into their community.

I learned a great example of this while speaking with Jerry Norris of the Fledge. Jerry told me about a Lansing based nonprofit, and former participant of the One and All program, called the Village. The name is based off the saying, “it takes a village,” and they aim to reduce and prevent violence in the greater Lansing community. They host after school programs, mentoring sessions, a lock in on devils’ night and many other activities to help prevent and reduce gun violence in Lansing’s youth. This is an excellent example of the lasting, positive effects of inclusive entrepreneurialism and how communities help themselves when they obtain the proper tools to grow.  

Throughout this internship, I also learned what it takes to successfully run a program such as One and All. I met with program partners to discover what they each contribute and how they ensure it runs smoothly. The Fledge refers individuals to the program, provides basic needs and gives guidance with every step along the way. The Michigan Capital Region Small Business Development Center provides a business coach that tailors applicable tools and information to fit each participants individual business needs. Piper & Gold Public Relations runs the communication side of the program by handling the social media sites, building the webinars and troubleshooting any technical issues. All of this and so much more is necessary to sustain a successful program such as One and All.  

Moving forward from my internship with LEAP, I will be graduating this coming May with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics and Management. I wish to pursue a career as a sustainability analyst, but this experience has also broadened my horizons to opportunities in economic development, which is something I find very exciting! Thank you again for this amazing opportunity and I wish everyone the best!