The Rural Center is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of rural North Carolinians through the development, promotion and implementation of sound economic strategies.

How can we help your community? The center trains rural leaders from all walks of life to recognize and embrace economic opportunities. We help rural entrepreneurs of all ages start their own businesses, and we provide access to capital so established businesses can grow and create new jobs.

We are passionate about this work. Recent challenges have only strengthened our dedication to it.

If you have a question about current Rural Center initiatives, please contact a          staff member. If you have a question about past grant programs, please see this FAQ.



Register now for the 2014 N.C. Rural Assembly

 assembly save the date logo

Registration is now open for the 2014 N.C. Rural Assembly, which will be held Thursday, October 30 in Raleigh. We took a break last year from hosting our annual gathering, but the Rural Center's signature event is returning this fall, with a new name, a new venue and a new strategic action plan for addressing the future of rural economic development.


Anticipate spending the entire day with us — the 2014 N.C. Rural Assembly will be packed with dynamic speakers, thoughtful discussions and the networking and fellowship our events have long been known for.


Check out the agenda here, and guarantee your spot at the Assembly by registering today. Registration is only $95, and will include meals.


To register, you may:

Sign up online with a credit card, or:

Download a form and register by mail with a check.



The 2014 N.C. Rural Assembly will be held at the DoubleTree/Raleigh Brownstone Hotel on Hillsborough Street near N.C. State University. The hotel is offering a discounted rate of $99 to Assembly participants. This rate is good for October 29 and October 30. Reserve a hotel room now.


REDO Annual Meeting and Dinner
REDI graduates: Please consider joining us for our annual REDO meeting and dinner on the evening of October 29. Tickets for the dinner are $30.


To sign up for the REDO dinner with a credit card, click here. Or you may download this form and register by mail with a check.


We look forward to seeing you in Raleigh this fall!



New business seminars announced

The Center is pleased this fall to provide a series of free seminars across the state designed for seasoned and prospective business owners. Participants will learn about accessing start-up capital and how lenders judge credit risks. Click here for a complete list of seminars.



New Generation Leaders start projects

In all, eight community action teams received $20,000 grants from the New Generations Leaders program to create and deliver a community improvement project. Operated by the Rural Center, the New Generations Leaders program charges these teams, which are led by young people, to devise, develop and implement their own projects. Read more.



Rural Center receives grant from U.S. Department of the Treasury

The $125,000 grant will enable the Rural Center to study the feasibility of developing of a Community Development Financial Institution within the center. Throughout the country, CDFIs serve low-income people and communities that lack adequate access to affordable financial products and services. Read more.



Leadership grads tour Siler City successes

Graduates of the Rural Economic Development Institute visited Siler City recently to see firsthand the differences that dedicated leaders can make in a community. REDI is an intensive, three-month program to train rural leaders, but the education doesn't stop in the classroom. Alumni meet periodically to share success stories and trade ideas for developing and empowering North Carolina's rural communities. For the Siler City meeting, graduates traveled from as far away as Onslow County for networking opportunities and a walking tour of the Chatham County town. Read more.



SBCI continues to count successes, hit milestones

The N.C. Small Business Credit Initiative, which is operated by the Rural Center, has been recognized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as one of the top programs of its kind in the country. In its most recent quarterly report, Treasury ranked NCSBCI in the top 10 of several important national categories, including the percentage of allocated money that has already moved through the program. Read more. 



Office space available for lease

The Rural Center has space available for lease in its office building on Carya Drive in Raleigh. The building, which is located in a Wake County government office complex with convenient Beltline access, features abundant free parking, shared meeting spaces, a modern phone system and a state-of-the-art conference center. Read more.