Two news stories yesterday on supporting rural business, especially in traditionally agricultural areas. The interesting thing is that the stories are from India and Scotland.
In Cupar, Scotland, the local college has opened a Rural Business Centre. Services will include:
business and skills related information, short courses, skills training, flexible learning and tailored training. It will also provide access to ICT, internet and other business facilities, business start-up and development advice and specialist land-based advice and consultancy.
Similar business incubators are growing in rural areas of the US. Tupelo, Mississippi, just received an award for theirs, and Ardmore, Oklahoma, is just getting started. And that’s just from one day’s news.
In India, a private company (Reliance Industries or RIL) is planning Rural Business Hubs throughout the Punjab region.
RIL would be allowed to carry out procurement of agricultural goods, value addition in terms of sorting and grading; set up cold storage and warehouses; and carry out processing & packaging in the land that is to be procured for the rural agri business hubs. Setting up of retail outlets is also permitted, the sources said. RIL is also likely to procure milk from the hubs and process it at some of hubs.
I think there are ideas in both plans that are interesting for any rural area.
- Building networks of support for potential entrepreneurs dramatically improves successes.
- Adding value to the local resources may seem obvious, but is harder to do in practice. It requires major investment of resources.
Where ever you are in the rural world, don’t feel like you are alone in your business challenges. Much of the world is working on these same issues. Seems like we have a lot to learn from sharing.
Photo by Jeanne Cole (OkieJ) of Becky McCray sharing marketing ideas at Entrepreneur Day training in Woodward, Oklahoma.
small biz rural entrepreneurship economic development business incubators agribusiness value added agriculture
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