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Regional XLR8 Ends, But The Work Is Just Beginning

Regional XLR8 had its final reconnect session last week. While the program has ended, much of the work in the communities is just beginning.  

Over the fall, 150 leaders from 58 communities and 4 regional organizations participated in the new accelerator program. Built upon the ICInstitute’s expertise in entrepreneurship and business development, the XLR8 program emphasized the human-centered aspect of community economic development.  

Classes provided a new and different kind of framework to conceptualize the issues and put together a roadmap that could work to get from here to a realistic objective.”

During the six-week program, community leaders focused on developing ideas for new opportunity and growth in their communities. Participants completed individual and group assignments, shared challenges and strategies with each other, and built individualized roadmaps to fit their community’s needs.  

“Regional XLR8 encourages communities to work together to solve problems and enhance the resilience of their communities and economies,” said instructor Greg Pogue. Many of the participants said they were now more interested in working with other communities and had obtained networking contacts through the program. A large number of participants said a key benefit of the program was what they learned from other communities. 

The most important benefit, as it turned out, was seeing how other communities (some peers, some larger than us) thought of themselves and addressed their own planning and visioning processes.”

Some participants also contributed to our “Community Leaders Speak” blog during the program, discussing everything from local newspapers to housing development incentives. Others said the information they had learned through the program would help them change their organizations’ future planning activities and communication efforts.  

While the program has ended, community leaders are now equipped with more tools and an individualized roadmap to help their communities through the uncertain changes the pandemic has wrought. Now comes the exciting part of watching Texas communities grow and transform as those plans are enacted.  

To date, 5 Regional XLR8 participants have shared blogs on our site: 

  1. Frank Jackson on Community-Building and the Power of Stories
  1. April Daniels on Better Together: B.E.S.T. Group of Bastrop County 
  1. Barbara Brannon on Community Newspapers: a Cornerstone of Community Building 
  1. Rush Harris on “What is my EDC doing for me?” 
  1. Miesha Adames on New Housing for Sweetwater: A Practical Approach 

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KXAN story on IC²: What smaller Texas communities can learn from startups about COVID-19 economic recovery

KXAN News covers IC² Regional Economic Recovery Initiative and Regional XLR8 accelerator program for communities.

150 Leaders from 58 Communities Join Regional XLR8

58 communities signed up from all over Texas and southern Louisiana to rethink recovery, plan strategic action, and build resilience.