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Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship


Homegrown businesses represent an important way to build and sustain rural economies. Through the Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship, the center helps North Carolina and its communities develop policies and programs that encourage the start-up and growth of locally owned companies of all shapes and sizes. Read more about the guiding principles behind this work.


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New Generation Ventures makes self-employment an attractive and attainable career option for rural young adults, ages 18 to 30. The program is open to young people who commit to launching a business in one of North Carolina's 85 rural counties. Ventures supports young entrepreneurs with business counseling, scholarships for business training, networking opportunities and access to new forms of capital. 


Project GATE, or Growing America Through Entrepreneurship, helps laid-off workers explore options for starting their own businesses. It provides access to free, one-on-one business counseling and scholarships for business management and vocational training. Project GATE is part of a federally funded demonstration that involves several statewide partners.



The Business Resource Alliance is an active group of state and regional agencies that support and champion entrepreneurs. The Rural Center has helped to convene the alliance for nearly seven years. The alliance in turn joined the Rural Center and other partners to help to launch the N.C. Entrepreneurship Summit and the Hop on the Bus high school business plan competition.



Training retreats bring together teams of local leaders to learn the principles of creating an entrepreneurial community and then return home to implement their new strategies. The training is called Energizing Entrepreneurship, or E2 Express, depending on the duration. Contact us to learn more about setting up a training retreat for your community.



Barry Ryan, Director of Entrepreneurship

N.C. Rural Economic Development Center

4021 Carya Drive

Raleigh, NC 27610

Telephone: 919-250-4314

Fax: 919-250-4325