Small Business Policy News

Small businesses are the backbone of rural communities

Small scale entrepreneurship is a proven strategy to revitalize rural communities. Owning one’s own business can create genuine opportunity across rural America with the support of a modest public investment.

The importance of entrepreneurship is particularly profound in the most rural areas. Our analysis of economic conditions in the farm and ranch counties of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas found that nearly 60 percent of job growth in the 1990s came from people creating their own job by starting a small non farm business.

From the desk of the executive director: The president, rural voters and our future

Rural voters had a moment following last fall’s election. The national media showed up in force seeking to understand them. Enough rural voters had switched party allegiance to account for Trump’s victory over Clinton in several key Midwest and Rust Belt states. 

Frustration over the economic plight facing their community drove many of these voters. For our readers and those who have studied rural issues for decades, this may come as little surprise. 

Tax credits should help the distressed

The most effective and desirable economic development strategy for many rural communities is small entrepreneurship. Small businesses are especially important today, as opportunities to attract large employers to remote rural areas diminish.

For the past decade, the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit has played an essential role in helping these businesses get started. Passed in 2005, the act provides tax credits to applicants for creating or expanding microbusinesses that contribute to the revitalization of economically distressed areas.

Communities Strengthened through Business to Business Connections

New immigrants have started new businesses throughout the country. However, in small towns with growing new immigrant populations, we found that few long-time residents patronize these new businesses. And few new immigrants patronize long-time residents’ businesses. It seems like a missed opportunity.

Language barriers or the fear of not being welcome are often causes. How can you break through that barrier? We asked that question in two small towns recently. Part of the answer seems to be in developing inclusive “Business to Business” tours.

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