Rural places depend on small businesses and entrepreneurs

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The American Farm Bureau's Rural Community Building blog
August 6, 2010

Small businesses support the communities on which farmers and ranchers depend for essential goods and services. In rural America, small businesses are critical to support a quality of life that will attract the young families necessary to keep rural communities vibrant.

Self-employment has increased dramatically in most rural areas over the past three decades, doubling in many rural locations. The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Center for Rural Entrepreneurship is one of those organizations that assists entrepreneurs in their start-up and success, and encourages youth to adopt the skills and attitude to be able to start their own businesses. Each month the Center sends out an update on their work with community leaders, educators, and youth program partners around the country.

Craig Schroeder, RUPRI's senior fellow for youth engagement, reported in his most recent news: "A number of rural communities hosted youth entrepreneurship camps over the summer to encourage young people interested in business ownership at an early age. McCook, Nebraska, a HomeTown Competitiveness (HTC) community, hosted a 4-H EntrepreneurShip Investigation (ESI) camp as a joint venture between Red Willow County Extension and McCook Economic Development Corporation, with financial support from the McCook Community Foundation and a number of local sponsors.

"One particular element that made the camp so valuable for youth was that a number of local entrepreneurs gave tours of their businesses, presented their real-world experiences, and provided feedback on youth business ideas and career interests. The evaluations confirm that interacting with local entrepreneurs was the highlight of the camp, and all participants indicated they want to attend another entrepreneurship camp in the future!"

RUPRI also does surveys for their national study of youth attitudes about rural communities, career interests and desire to live in their hometown in the future. "We are very pleased to announce that we are working with the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center to conduct youth surveys with over fifteen rural counties across the state. The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship with conduct the surveys at the beginning of the fall semester and prepare findings reports for each community, as well as an assessment report of the overall survey results," reports Craig.

RUPRI recently hosted a national webinar on Youth Engagement as a community development strategy in partnership with the Heartland Center for Leadership Development. An archived recording of the webinar is available if you would like to learn more about this work.

If you would like to access RUPRI's Newsletter Archive , learn more about the Center, see RUPRI's paper on agripreneurs, or more effectively engage young people in reaching your community and economic goals, please contact Craig Schroeder at

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This page contains a single entry by CFED published on August 27, 2010 3:27 PM.

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