|The Edward Lowe Foundation’s entrepreneurship initiatives are focused on second-stage companies — growth-oriented firms that have moved beyond startup but haven’t yet reached maturity. Their peer learning, leadership education and strategic information programs are geared to help these companies continue growing. They also educate communities about the challenges second-stagers face and how to work with them.
To scale their impact, the foundation delivers its programs to second-stagers through other entrepreneur support organizations, which includes chambers of commerce, small business development centers, technology councils and economic development agencies. Although many programs are conducted on their partners’ turf, such as PeerSpectives CEO roundtables and Economic Gardening, the foundation hosts leader retreats and facilitator training at Big Rock Valley (BRV), their headquarters in southwest Michigan.
|Recruited to the foundation in 2005, Penny Lewandowski is responsible for developing a strong national presence for the foundation, and for cultivating and managing relationships with the foundation’s external partners in entrepreneurship and economic development. She also leads the efforts to set and drive the vision for the organization’s future.
Recognized as a thought leader in entrepreneurship and building an entrepreneurial culture, Lewandowski is a frequent speaker on new ways to think about economic development – especially how a grow-from-within strategy leads to thriving and sustainable economies. In this capacity, she also represents the philosophies of the National Center for Economic Gardening, led by Chris Gibbons and managed by the foundation.