Rural startups face a unique set of challenges and often require a modified approach when compared to traditional businesses in an urban-dense metropolis.
Due in part to scarce populations and infrastructure, access to information, resources, and ultimately funding can be met with resistance when starting or growing a rural business.
In addition, many rural startups require specialized skills and education for things like operating machinery or understanding environmental considerations. If not pre-existing, acquiring these skills requires education and training that may not always be easily accessible.
Luckily these needs have been recognized by governments and initiatives to fund and grow rural businesses are becoming more available. With the implementation of new strategies and resources, opportunities for cultivating success are now more within reach.
There is still plenty of room for innovation in rural industries. While there may be particular adversities facing these industries in terms of startups and growth, there are also support and funding options available now that weren’t always there.
Read on to learn more about what options exist for rural businesses along with some of the unique challenges in this industry and how to overcome them.
There is a growing interest among funders, investors, governments, social entrepreneurs and policy makers to facilitate economic opportunity and entrepreneurship in rural communities. Check your local resources and use them! Here are a few to get you started:
- Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2)
- Center for Rural Affairs (CRFA)
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
- Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Kauffman Foundation
USDA Program Supports Provision Of Funding For Rural Startups
In comparison to their urban counterparts, rural businesses arguably face more challenges in launching and growing their enterprises. Because they are in rural areas with fewer resources, rural businesses often have difficulties in securing funding and growing their markets. Luckily the USDA has stepped in to help. Learn more here.
Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative (KRRBI)Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative (KRRBI)
Through a strategic partnership with EnerTribe, Inc., I worked with the Karuk Tribe to develop and fund a Tribally-owned telecommunications company to bring high-speed broadband Internet to the rural, isolated community Orleans in Northern California. Read the success story here.
Important Industry Happenings
- Rural tech startups see success across the US (via TechCrunch)
- Alaska's energy and arctic-tech startup scene is warming up for global challenges (via GreenBiz)
- The Business Model To Invigorate Rural America In The Next Decade (via Forbes)