Engaging small businesses in rural economic development : seven guidelines for success
"Finding locally led solutions to rural economic development challenges requires the time and capacity of many stakeholders. Practitioners navigate available infrastructure and connectivity, distance to markets, sparse populations, and access to resources as they seek opportunities. This publication focuses on one aspect of this work: meaningful engagement of rural small businesses in economic development decision making. There are many ways to approach development, this guide is based on three years of experience implementing a strategic planning process which directly engaged business owners. In our specific program, a "value chain coordinator" engages businesses and stakeholders to gather information about market demand, analyze gaps and opportunities in the value chain, and coordinate stakeholders to address those gaps and opportunities in a way that builds multiple forms of wealth and enhances local ownership and livelihoods opportunities. This guide provides business engagement examples from this work. While our approach is known as WealthWorks, we believe these guidelines are applicable across a range of economic development initiatives."--Page 1
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