Economic development is defined by one source as "the focus of federal, state, and local governments to improve our standard of living through the creation of jobs, the support of innovation and new ideas, the creation of higher wealth, and the creation of an overall better quality of life."

But, for Green Bay SCORE mentor Michael Malcheski of De Pere, economic development means much more. For 25 years, he worked in an assortment of federal, state, local and tribal economic development positions. It was always more than a job; it was working with individual entrepreneurs and doing whatever he could to ensure their business success.

Looking back, he estimates that he worked with about 1,000 businesses and spent time with each that held promise.

"I saw some clients for six or seven years," Malcheski said. "When people came in the door, you have to do your best to work with them and help them grow their business. Growth or starting a business can be a long process."

Many knew little or nothing about business plans, and education was considered a vital part of the process.

"They needed to know what they didn't know. Sometimes that meant pounding them on the head to reach reality and learn what was needed to take the next step," he said.

It also meant informing them about the benefits of working with economic development directors, and programs that might be available. It is a recommendation that he now makes to SCORE clients.