Small Business Policy
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.