Teaching Communities How to Fish: The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

What do Sahuarita, Arizona, Pottawattamie County Iowa, and Fond du Lac Wisconsin all have in common? These communities, as well as communities found throughout the United States, have all teamed up with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship to help their economies and communities grow by supporting local entrepreneurial development. The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, co-founded by Don Macke and Deborah Markley, has been a go-to resource for rural American towns looking for entrepreneur-focused development since 2001.

COMM LK BlogImage2 2014 09After teaming up with The Center for Rural Development, Sahuarita, AZ become one of the fastest growing suburban areas in America, a strong transition from the tiny community it once was, (population rose from 3,242 in 2000 to 25,259 in 2010). In Pottawattamie County, IA the Center teamed up with several Iowa organizations to do business coaching in the county and in Fond du Lac, WI, a manufacturing town that was hit hard by the recession, an opportunity assessment and strategy for the next generation entrepreneurship was developed. These examples are just touching on the successful partnerships that the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship has fostered.

The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship is a non-profit organization with the focus of helping communities and regions grow their economy. Through on-the-ground methods of developing entrepreneurial communities, effective and sustainable giving programs, and engaging the next generation, the Center helps communities help themselves by creating environments where small businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive. It’s the rural economy’s answer to, “Why give a man a fish when you can teach a man to fish?”

With over 38 years of experience in the field of community economic development, Don Macke knows rural communities. As Macke stated in a 2001 interview, “…most entrepreneurial businesses fit the small-business definition, but the opposite isn’t necessarily true—all small businesses are not entrepreneurial. The difference is the approach to doing business. Particularly in the rural setting, there are motivational and behavioral differences between developing a small business and encouraging entrepreneurship.”

If you’re interested in starting your own business, encouraging entrepreneurship in your community, or just want to hear from Don Macke himself, join us at Peak Innovation: The Next 20 Years, happening Oct. 8-10th at Granlibakken in Tahoe City. The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship will be leading a pre-conference training on the 10 Steps to Building a Culture of Innovation and Macke will be a featured panelist on the Cultivating Triple Bottom Line Innovation breakout session.

To learn more and to register, visit http://sierrabusiness.org/whats-new/peak-innovation.