What are some resources to help rural entrepreneurs succeed?
To help you find resources designed to help rural entrepreneurs, we asked small business owners and experienced entrepreneurs this question for their best insights. From applying for rural business development grants to researching local economic development organizations, there are several resources designed to help you succeed as a rural entrepreneur.
Rural Business Development Grants
Rural entrepreneurs in need of assistance should look into Rural Business Development Grants. There are two types of funding available: enterprise grants and opportunity grants. These grants are an excellent resource for rural entrepreneurs who want to acquire land, purchase equipment, or perform market research. Rural Business Development Grants can be helpful as business incubators jumpstart economic opportunities in rural communities.
Henry Babicheknko, Stomadent
Easypost is excellent for rural startups. Finding affordable shipping is essential for rural businesses that want to move products. Easypost is an online resource that will allow a rural entrepreneur to browse and compare the prices of 100+ carriers to find the best deals to move their products. Easypost doesn't ship goods but provides an easy-to-use API to help simplify the processes behind moving your goods. This is the perfect resource for rural startups, giving them a wide degree of control and choice over their distribution options.
Boye Fajinmi, TheFutureParty
The United States Department of Agriculture is an excellent resource for rural entrepreneurs because they offer many good opportunities to fund, launch, or scale-up rural startup ideas. They have various programs, grants, and loan offers that can significantly help, especially for entrepreneurs in rural areas where opportunities are scarce. I have benefited from their agriculture grants for my gardening startup. Many of my gardener and farmer peers have also grown their businesses thanks to the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program.
Jason White, All About Gardening
Local Business Groups
Entrepreneurial networking and business community organizations in rural areas are excellent resources for people seeking success outside major metropolitan areas. These are rural-based community support organizations made of other small business owners. These groups are an excellent source of information and resources, often including individuals with extensive networking, marketing, and market growth expertise.
Hector Ruiz, BBQ Grill Academy
Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) provides grants and fixed interest loans to businesses with ten or fewer employees. These businesses must serve a rural community: however, their headquarter’s could be located in a larger city. Grants can be worth more than $200,000 at maximum, and the loans have a two-year payment deferral. If a rural entrepreneur meets the RMAP requirements, it can be a highly beneficial source of funding, particularly in the early years of a business.
Shawn Plummer, The Annuity Expert
Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine program is one good resource for rural entrepreneurs in the telecommunication industry. It allows businesses to provide high-quality internet in rural communities, despite their remote location and low population density. The program primarily aims for economic and community development. It enables rural entrepreneurs to help increase the quality of education and health care among rural residents. Through program funds, entrepreneurs can purchase capital assets like broadband facilities, computer hardware, interactive video equipment, and many more.
Allan Stolc, Bankly.dk
Rural Business Investment Companies
Rural Business Investment Companies is a non-governmental and non-publicly funded investment group that operates similarly to a venture capital firm. It has been termed a “double-bottom line” entity whose focus is getting a return on investment from early-stage rural businesses and benefiting the community around it - ideally with populations of under 50,000. This is a compelling and underutilized option that can offer funding that is comparable to urban investment organizations.
Anamika Goyal, Cottage
Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a Maine-based nonprofit organization that supports rural entrepreneurs and economic development in rural areas. Through its inclusive StartSmart program, CEI provides “no-cost, confidential, and linguistically and culturally sensitive business advice.” Additionally, they provide financial support through tools tailored to refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs' unique needs. Coastal Enterprises, Inc is one of the organizations leading the charge to reduce barriers to rural entrepreneurship.
Dan Gray, Kotn Supply
Small Business Administration
Rural entrepreneurs can find it hard to start and grow their businesses due to a lack of access to capital and limited resources. However, there are several organizations and programs that exist to help rural entrepreneurs succeed. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is one such resource. The SBA offers financial assistance, training, and counseling to small businesses. They also have a Rural Business Development program that provides grants to support entrepreneurship and business growth in rural areas. The USDA also has programs to help rural entrepreneurs, including the Intermediary Relending Program, which makes loans available to small businesses and nonprofits in rural areas.
Linda Shaffer, Checkr
An excellent resource for rural entrepreneurs is SCORE, a volunteer group with a wealth of information and resources. SCORE offers mentoring and can also help in pragmatic ways like helping business owners draft a business plan, find funding, and even find an excellent building to locate their business. It is also a good way to look into possible financing as SCORE has information on all types of options for rural entrepreneurs.
Fadi Swaida, Bond Street Dental
Local Economic Development Organizations
If you're in a rural area, a local economic development organization can likely help you succeed. Start by Googling your county's name, plus "economic development organization." A few listings may come up as sources for loans, grants, and other programs designed to drive new businesses and jobs to the area. Many of these are industry-specific, so it could take some time to find one that's a fit for your business.
Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions