Entrepreneurial Communities

Rural America is competing in the global marketplace, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to be the lowest cost provider of many of the mass-produced goods and services that have sustained rural economies in the recent past. In the North Central region, many rural communities are seeing population loss that is eroding their customer base. Communities that can foster an entrepreneurial outlook among their population have a better chance of competing in today’s environment. Rural areas have many assets that can be strategically positioned for a more vibrant economic system if appropriate way of harnessing them can be identified. The center is especially interested in the following areas (in order of descending priority):

Community systems to support entrepreneurship, especially
o new Americans
o high-poverty populations
o entrepreneurial exploration for youth in the for-profit and social enterprise sectors
Identification of new markets
o Manufacturing, service, or natural resource based industries
o Value-added/niche markets for small & medium-size farms, including local foods