Small Business Policy

Small businesses are the backbone of rural communities. We work for federal rural policy recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship as a rural development strategy and provide the resources necessary for rural communities to leverage the spirit, creativity and opportunities entrepreneurship creates.

Small scale entrepreneurship is a proven strategy to revitalize rural communities. It can create genuine opportunity across rural America with the support of a modest public investment.

The importance of small 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.

Small entrepreneurship is the one development strategy that consistently works in these communities. It is also the strategy that has the capacity to bring back young people – including those who earn a college degree. Our surveys of rural youth in northeast Nebraska found that half would like to one day own their own farm or business. That opportunity has the potential to draw them back to rural America.

Small business development helps rural people acquire assets and create wealth. That is essential. Asset and wealth-building through home ownership, business ownership and enhanced education lead to important long-term psychological and social effects that cannot be achieved by simply increasing income. Assets like businesses and houses bond one to a place and help to build sustainable communities. A commitment to rural asset- and wealth-building strategies can lead to stronger individuals, families, and communities.

Small Business Policy Notes

 

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.

Keep Your Eye on the Money

You can learn a lot about how or why certain decisions are made if you follow the money. For four decades the Center has been doing just that.

Ground-breaking Center for Rural Affairs reports from our early years were—at their core—an analysis of how money and investment trends were affecting small towns, family farmers, and rural people.

This included our early report, Who Will Sit Up with the Corporate Sow?, which documented the financing trends that underscored the initial industrialization of hog farming in this country.

Nebraska Tax Committee Update

This fall the Tax Modernization Committee, a group of Nebraska state senators charged with evaluating our state's tax system, held public hearings across the state.  We are happy to report that Center for Rural Affairs' supporters testified at each of the hearings!

Most Nebraskans who testified at the hearings support property tax relief and a few support income tax cuts. The Tax Modernization Committee is meeting in executive session to discuss committee recommendations thoughout November.