Entrepreneurship Development System for Rural North Carolina
Funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, June 2005-Spring 2007
The purpose of the $2 million investment from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is to build a comprehensive entrepreneurship development system for rural North Carolina, focusing first on the areas with the greatest need for entrepreneurial activity to transform their economies.
What will having a comprehensive system for rural entrepreneurship mean?
All types of entrepreneurs in rural places can access education and training opportunities, technical assistance, capital sources, and entrepreneurial networking. The Rural Center has learned through its research that rural entrepreneurs now know little about the "system." Rarely does a grant pay for the development of a system, but that is exactly what the Kellogg Foundation intends for its funds. The foundation strongly believes that the economic activity of the future will be concentrated in regions where people who create and grow enterprises can easily access the assistance they need, and that Rural America needs to develop more focused systems of support for its entrepreneurs.
What is meant by "different types of entrepreneurs"?
The Kellogg Foundation and its partners at CFED have defined six different types of entrepreneurs that a comprehensive system must serve:
- Aspiring entrepreneurs: Attracted to the idea of creating enterprises; includes people of all ages.
- Survival entrepreneurs: Resort to enterprise creation to supplement their incomes.
- Lifestyle entrepreneurs: Create enterprises in order to pursue certain lifestyles or live in particular communities.
- Growth entrepreneurs: Motivated to develop and expand their businesses to create jobs and wealth.
- Serial entrepreneurs: Go on to create several growth businesses.
- Social entrepreneurs: Create and grow enterprises that are primarily for public and community purposes.
What are the intended outcomes of the project after the two-year demonstration?
The project focuses on impacts for entrepreneurs, service providers, and community leaders.
For entrepreneurs, the project will:
- Improve the level and quality of service to entrepreneurs working in rural places
- Connect especially those in distressed and minority communities to ideas and opportunities
- Refocus existing resources and public attention on rural entrepreneurs
For business resource providers, the project will:
- Broaden and professionalize the service network
- Provide scholarships to professional development, networking and innovation events
- Articulate various niches of expertise and clear systems of referral
For rural community leaders and policy makers, the project will:
- Develop new ideas and new engines for economic development that fit with local culture
- Provide scholarships to entrepreneurship training with their peers from the region
- Help them build regions that accelerate successful entrepreneurs
Will there be any grants to entrepreneurs or communities?
No. The purpose of the work is to develop rural leaders who understand their entrepreneurs and can work systematically to accelerate regional entrepreneurship. The project will offer free assistance through outreach sessions, informational materials, and training scholarships. The demonstration team offers a broad range of ideas and expertise as well as connections to debt or equity capital from sources other than the grant.
Where will the Kellogg project be focused within North Carolina?
The project must reach the persistently high-poverty and high-minority regions of the state, which are concentrated in the northeast, southeast, and southwest counties of North Carolina. The demonstration team will bring its combined expertise to regional events at six-month intervals on three occasions in each of those regions, plus a few events more centrally located. People in all rural counties of the state will be invited to regional workshops and leadership training opportunities. Preference for scholarships will go to persons in the highest-need places.
Who are the organizational partners for the North Carolina demonstration team?
- N.C. Rural Center's Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship, lead
Council for Entrepreneurial Development
Good Work, Inc.
IDA and Asset-Building Collaborative of N.C.
Junior Achievement of Eastern NC
N.C. Community Development Initiative Capital
N.C. Indian Economic Development Initiative
N.C. Institute for Minority Economic Development
N.C. REAL Enterprises, Inc.
Self-Help Credit Union
- Higher education:
- N.C. Community College System's Small Business Center Network
University of North Carolina's Small Business and Technology Development Center
East Carolina University
Western Carolina University
NCSU's Industrial Extension and Cooperative Extension Services
UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government
- State agencies:
- N.C. Department of Commerce's Business ServiCenter
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's Marketing Division
- Center for Creative Leadership
Entreworks Consulting, Inc.
How can other interested organizations besides the partners participate?
The organizations on the demonstration team will involve other entrepreneurial and business development organizations throughout rural North Carolina in building comprehensive service networks for entrepreneurs. All service organizations will be invited to bring their expertise to regional workshops and to send their staff to nationally certified and state-tailored training programs in accelerating entrepreneurship.
Where are the other Kellogg grantees?
The other five projects are based in Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Members of all six "EDS" project teams will meet as a peer learning network with the Kellogg Foundation.