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?
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.
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