I’ve read several exciting things on rural economic development lately, and I wanted to share some examples and some ideas.
Three Tips to a Successful Initiative
Hillsboro, Kansas, is launching a business incubator with the city and university participating. The mayor pointed out three things she liked in the proposal.
- Developers have done a thorough job of projecting expenses, which some economic-development initiatives fail to do.
- Members are willing to invest personal funds toward its success rather than depending on taxpayer money.
- The staff person will be focused on only one area and will be held accountable for what is accomplished.
What if every economic development initiative managed to do those same three things?
Revolving Loan Funds
Remember the idea of revolving loan funds? Here’s one community that has progressed to actually granting a loan: Dorchester County, Maryland.
A story from AP details the doctor shortage in Idaho and profiles the Office of Rural Health’s $220,000 per year in grants to recruit doctors. But here’s the lightbulb moment for me: why not use other rural business grants and resources for doctor recruitment? A family practice is a business, and many business grants, like RBEG or Oklahoma’s REAP, could help. My little town lost a valuable pair of doctors due (at least partly) to financial problems. Could more be done to support these businesses?
Using All Your Resources
Advance Rural Lincolnshire (United Kingdom) is tying together many separate resources to help businesses in the rural county succeed. They are focusing on providing advice, information, and training. Any rural area or small town could use this model to bring together all the available resources to focus on helping small businesses succeed.
Use Your Library
Some librarians are getting more and more requests for help from small business owners, and they are responding with new websites and targeted offerings, according to the AP. Visit two outstanding libraries online: Chester County Library System and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
small biz rural entrepreneurship economic development
- How small town businesses can market to remote workers and turn them into new customers - May 15, 2023
- Survey of Rural Challenges 2023 results - May 8, 2023
- Rural and small town ideas from the OU Placemaking Conference IQC 2023 - April 5, 2023
- Rural tourism trends say small towns are still cool - March 27, 2023
- Move Your Money and Bank Local - March 22, 2023
- Using a building as a warehouse or storage in a small town? Put up a sign - March 13, 2023
- How to get customers in the door of small town and rural retail stores - February 19, 2023
- Check your small business website for outdated pandemic changes, missing info - January 31, 2023
- Rural Tourism Trend: electric vehicle chargers can drive visitors - January 15, 2023
- 2023 trends for rural and small town businesses - December 26, 2022
Nairobi Paul says
The one thing I’ve learned after being on the ground here in eastern Africa, trying to help a rural village – it’s WAY harder than it looks from the outside.
One small example is that the well we were funding caused the project manager to lose his shop’s lease. The landloard saw the funds coming in from us and wanted a piece of the action. So we accidentally screwed up our friend’s life!
Becky McCray says
Paul, thanks for your insight!
I agree that development is much harder than people think, whether it is rural Oklahoma or rural Kenya! Unintended consequences and the greed of minor players plague us all. I can think of some specific examples from my home area, ones that some of our readers would recognize!
Thanks, again, Paul!