The Usher Garage is about connecting the community and convening open and inclusive conversations around entrepreneurship, economic mobility, digital access and digital equity. Assisting the entrepreneur community in developing a public policy platform and voice is a major focus of this work. The economic development paradigm must be disrupted in a meaningful way to enable entrepreneurship to flourish to the benefit of economically-distressed neighborhoods and business districts.
Regulatory due diligence for emerging technologies and disruptive business models is built into the fabric of this work. The success of these efforts is best demonstrated through my work at the City of Kansas City, Mo. in assisting Google in proving the business model for Google Fiber and working to ensure an equitable deployment in an effort to close the digital divide. Today, ten years later, Kansas City has the fastest Internet in the US and is benefitting from in-migration by remote workers and companies seeking locations with better access to talent, symmetric gigabit Internet speeds and reasonable costs of living.
The Usher Garage is not a physical space, most of the time, but is a metaphor for the open and collaborative approach I practice in my work in the community. You may witness it in coffee shops, coworking spaces, business districts and pop-up forums.
The Usher Garage provides space to build relationships around conversations that ideate, prototype, bench test, deconstruct, hack and modify those things that hinder small business, digital equity and entrepreneurial growth.