Creating new opportunities to build local wealth

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to digital economic development across rural America, which is why we help rural community leaders devise digital economy strategies that support innovation, tech entrepreneurship, workforce development, and tech job creation in the places they call home. 

Through our Rural Innovation Initiative, our team works with cohorts of rural communities to create place-based digital economy strategies, an economic development model that aims to educate and train local residents in digital skills, employ them in digital jobs, and empower them to launch the startups that will drive their local economy.

Since launching in 2019, in collaboration with our collaborating partner, the Center on Rural Innovation, the Rural Innovation Initiative has raised more than $29.9 million in federal funding and matching dollars through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s highly competitive Build to Scale Venture Challenge Grant program.

How we work with communities

Community assessments

We work with rural communities to discover and analyze their local assets and gaps, identify key partners, understand local employment needs, and build out strategies that will best serve their community’s long-term vision and goals. At the end of the assessment, we deliver comprehensive reports based on:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Asset and gaps analysis
Historic brick building

Digital economic development strategies

Our in-house team of community managers and economic data specialists collaborate with rural leaders as they develop and refine digital economy strategies that are unique to their local community’s needs. Building upon the findings from the assessment phase, we provide technical assistance, tools, templates, guidance, and best practices for designing inclusive digital economy strategies. This work can include:

  • Partner engagement planning
  • Workshop facilitation
  • Identification of funding opportunities and grant-writing support 
  • Customized tools and templates
People working together at a table

$29.9M

We've helped communities raise more than $29.9 million in federal funding and matching dollars through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s highly competitive Build to Scale Venture Challenge Grant program.

Learn more

We are always looking to connect with new communities — reach out today

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