Building an entrepreneurial economy
Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship
Homegrown businesses represent an important way to build and sustain rural economies. Through the Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship, the center helps North Carolina and its communities develop policies and programs that encourage the start-up and growth of locally owned companies of all shapes and sizes. Read more about the guiding principles behind this work.
The Rural Center works to develop regional networks that encourage business startups and expansions. Two multiyear projects have targeted the creation of entrepreneurship support systems involving a broad range of business service providers and community leaders. A new effort is aiding short-term projects that develop resources for entrepreneurs.
- Five regional collaborations received $10,000 grants in November 2010 to assist entrepreneurship development projects. Funded projects, to be completed within six months, address youth entrepreneurship, business plan development and business networks. Learn more.
- A three-year project that began in 2008 focuses on deepening and sustaining entrepreneurial support in the southeast and northeast regions of the state. Learn more.
- From 2005 to 2008, the Rural Center led a project focused on improving and broadening entrepreneurial support throughout the state’s 85 rural counties. The project, known as Entrepreneurship Development System for Rural North Carolina, was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Learn more.
New Generation Ventures makes self-employment an attractive and attainable career option for rural young adults, ages 18 to 30. The program is open to young people who commit to launching a business in one of North Carolina's 85 rural counties. Ventures supports young entrepreneurs with business counseling, scholarships for business training, networking opportunities and access to new forms of capital.
Project GATE, or Growing America Through Entrepreneurship, helps laid-off workers explore options for starting their own businesses. It provides access to free, one-on-one business counseling and scholarships for business management and vocational training. Project GATE is part of a federally funded demonstration that involves several statewide partners.
The Business Resource Alliance is an active group of state and regional agencies that support and champion entrepreneurs. The Rural Center has helped to convene the alliance for nearly seven years. The alliance in turn joined the Rural Center and other partners to help to launch the N.C. Entrepreneurship Summit and the Hop on the Bus high school business plan competition.
Training retreats bring together teams of local leaders to learn the principles of creating an entrepreneurial community and then return home to implement their new strategies. The training is called Energizing Entrepreneurship, or E2 Express, depending on the duration.
Leslie Scott, Director, Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship
N.C. Rural Economic Development Center
4021 Carya Drive
Raleigh, NC 27610