Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Making of a Perfect Storm in Rural America.

In economic studies of rural communities there are a few negative findings and countering positive findings, positioning themselves for a climactic event…the timing is not known but is certain the event will be awe-inspiring.

The leading negative elements in this event have been identified as: negative economic growth, rural communities losing downtown business, rural underemployment, and a real community killer, lacking new business attraction.
According to USDA Economic Research Services recent studies point to the negative trends in rural town population. (For the last 20 years there has been a net 20% out migration rate.) Outmigration coupled with high Underemployment rates in most rural areas are causing great concern with rural community leaders who are looking for remedies to cure their Main Street and general economic woes.

The positive elements will be the leadership of the community willing to take up a community plan for economic improvement that focuses on training. Business training for all current businesses to prevent the erosion of Main Street and entrepreneurial training for those entrepreneurs attracted to a new Rural Entrepreneurship program. These training programs are being spearheaded by non-profit organizations and professional entrepreneurship consultants. They ae also supported by rural community colleges

Entrepreneurship is a vital rural economic development strategy. There are several reasons for the increasing interest in entrepreneurship especially in rural cities and towns.
  • First, the traditional approaches to business recruitment and retention are just not working for many rural communities
  • Town leaders and local economic development groups are looking for viable alternatives.
  • Key to their efforts is the attraction of entrepreneurs from which to stimulate economic improvement in these communties and reach an important goal of any economic program today...job growth.
From government and academic studies there is a vast amount of supporting evidence to indicate the critical roles that entrepreneurs and small businesses play in driving local and national economies. The structure of rural economies is essentially composed of small enterprises, which are responsible for most of the job growth and the innovation. Developed by entrepreneurs, small businesses represent an important part of commerce for most rural economies and business innovation and expansion planning drive jobs.

We may now think of it as a storm in an area of current economic drought…and one we can deal with better than ever before.

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