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.

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.


Thanks to you, the 2015 N.C. Rural Assembly was an outstanding success!

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 The 2015 N.C. Rural Assembly, “Cultivating Connectivity: Leveraging Broadband to Accelerate Opportunity," is in the history books and was a resounding success. Approximately 400 of you joined us September 28-29 to hear from federal, state and private sector broadband experts. If you missed it, or if you attended and are interested in reviewing what you experienced, click for:
 •    A directory of agendas, speaker presentations, videos and other materials that many of you have asked to receive, plus a directory of Rural Assembly attendees;
•    A straight-forward, five-step approach to what any community can do right now to work toward improving their broadband connectivity. This piece is authored by Joe Freddoso, co-founder of Mighty River LLC and former CEO of MCNC, who assisted the Rural Center in delivering a first-class conference agenda;
•    The powerful keynote address delivered by Jonathan Chambers, chief of the office of strategic planning and policy analysis for the FCC;
•    A full list of award winners;
•    Constructive feedback from our attendees to assist us in planning the 2016 N.C. Rural Assembly.

Apply Now for REDI 2016

Applications are now being accepted for the next class of the Rural Economic Development Institute. Each year, REDI welcomes government officials, nonprofit and faith-based leaders, small business owners, volunteers, economic development professionals and other community-minded people for nine days of intensive rural economic development training. Interested? Read more.


Rural Center welcomes hundreds to advocacy meetings

Center staff traveled across rural North Carolina in July and August, gathering critical feedback as we work to craft a rural advocacy agenda that benefits the entire state. More than 300 people participated. Read more.