Episode 102

The Intersection of Podcasting and Economic Development with Jennifer Olson


July 31st, 2023

29 mins 5 secs

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About this Episode

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show, host Dane Carlson sits down with Jennifer Olson, Director of Business Development for the city of Marion, Illinois, discussing the impact of her podcast "Small Town, Big Business" and delving into the economic development and revitalization efforts in her town. They discuss the challenges and rewards of running a successful podcast, the importance of small businesses in rural communities, and the significance of tourism in Marion.

The episode begins with an insightful discussion about the "Small Town, Big Business" podcast, co-hosted by Jennifer Olson. Exploring the triumphs and tribulations of small businesses in rural areas, the podcast serves as a platform to inspire others towards entrepreneurship. Jennifer talks about the importance of consistency in releasing episodes, the impact of the podcast's storytelling on weaving deeper connections between local businesses and the community, and the often underestimated potency of mentorship in entrepreneurial success.

Diving deeper, Dane and Jennifer touch on Marion's strategic position as a hub for industries like manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and retail. Notwithstanding its relatively small population, Marion sees its size nearly doubled every day due to incoming commuters. With an upcoming jet service connecting the city to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, they articulate on the fresh wave of opportunities this development would bring. The dialogue then traverses to the extensive tourism potential of Marion, its resilient history symbolically termed "Little Eygpt," and the enduring relevance of attractions like the Shawnee National Forest and a developed wine trail.

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