Letter – Rural communities must tell their story

Published 6:19 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

To the editor:

Rural communities have experienced challenging economic times with the overall decline in their population, lack of broadband and many other amenities that metropolitan areas enjoy.

In comparison to metropolitan areas, rural communities often do not have a comprehensive ecosystem with business development resources to support startups and small businesses. For this reason, rural communities are sometimes overlooked and underserved. One way to change this is by telling their story to the world.

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I recently attended the Brunswick County Business Summit along with other ecosystem stakeholders. The summit centered around discussions on how the county can tell its story more widely and frequently. The main topic of the event was to share that Brunswick County is open for business. Their goal is to build a comprehensive entrepreneurial ecosystem to support startups and existing businesses.

The event was a revelation, and it illuminates some tips for rural communities to consider moving forward.

  • Craft a message or an elevator speech with a consistent message espousing the community‚Äôs brand.
  • Become a champion and a convener for building an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • ¬†Partner with capital providers such as lenders, CDFIs-Community Development Financial Institutions and the SBA. Access to capital is a vitally important component of growth.
  • Partner with schools to adopt entrepreneurship programs to foster the future.
  • Become a champion and a convener for building entrepreneurial ecosystems and inject a spirit of entrepreneurship into the community to help shape the business culture.

The SBA has a myriad of resources for rural communities. We value and understand the economic contributions of rural communities. That is the primary reason the SBA wants to help rural communities tell the story.

 

Martin Short

Lead economic development specialist and public information officer

Virginia-Richmond District Office

U.S. Small Business Administration