Creating Entrepreneurial Communities: Lessons From 10 Rural Demonstrations in Rural North Carolina, North Carolina Rural Center, April 2006; 12 pages; www.ncruralcenter.org.

The state of North Carolina and the North Carolina Rural Center provided funding for ten demonstration projects to implement entrepreneurship development programs in rural communities. This publication documents the results of this project and summarizes the lessons learned.

Lessons learned include:

  • Pursue a realistic economic opportunity - an entrepreneurship strategy should be built upon local assets, including emerging clusters of entrepreneurs not already receiving business assistance.
  • Build and connect local capacity - organize the entrepreneurship support team to include individuals and groups with diverse and complementary skills, knowledge and contacts. a variety of organization types have the potential to lead an effective entrepreneurship development program, however the building blocks of success are having broadly accepted community economic development goals, existing entrepreneurial talent, and the capacity of leaders and organizational partnerships.
  • Create on-going value for the entrepreneurs - focus on the local entrepreneurs; continue to adapt and add value as their needs change.
  • Leverage resources to maintain momentum - design programs to function after the initial funding is gone.
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