Building on the extraordinary interest in rural entrepreneurship, the National Coalition for Rural Entrepreneurship (NCRE) and the four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) are developing a learning community and discussing policies and practices that support rural entrepreneurship. The Centers have held more than 30 sessions, listening to practitioners, entrepreneurs, lenders, and other partners talk about their successes and needs for creating and sustaining entrepreneurial ventures in rural America.
On February 14, 2006, Dr. James Zuiches, Washington State University; John Allen, Western Rural Development Center; Bo Beaulieu, Southern Rural Development Center; and Cornelia Flora, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development presented the latest results of the National Summit on the Listening Sessions to 350 professionals attending the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) in San Antonio, Texas.
You can view the presentation to NACDEP at http://nationalcoalition.wsu.edu/. You also can find more information about the National Coalition, including an overview, information about the listening sessions, and its new brochure, at http://nationalcoalition.wsu.edu/about/index.html.
Last year, 182 collaborative organizations with more than 2,000 partners in 47 states submitted proposals to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for Rural Entrepreneurship Development System grants, requesting $364 million to support collaborative efforts to generate rural entrepreneurship development. Six organizations were funded at $12 million.
NRCE’s goals are to stimulate and support the regional rural entrepreneurship efforts across the country, to provide policy recommendations for state and federal consideration, and to seek funding for 50 of the remaining 176 rural entrepreneurship development systems collaboratives who continue to provide local leadership in rural entrepreneurship and enterprise development.