RuralRISE Working Groups

In May 2018, over 175 people convened in rural Appalachia to look at how entrepreneurship functions in rural communities.  As a part of that event the following working groups surfaced to help drive initiatives for rural communities.   The all-volunteer working groups are designed to work towards the development of initiatives and programs to help support rural communities across the US.



RuralRISE Summit Working Group

By all accounts, the inaugural RuralRISE Summit was helpful for rural ecosystem builders to learn and benefit from the unique nature of entrepreneurship in rural communities.  This group will focus on developing the summit for RuralRISE 2019.  Activities will include but are not limited to:

  • Identifying programming that can add value to RuralRISE2019

  • Determine speakers that can provide unique insights

  • Determine activities and ways to increase attendees participation and engagement

  • Volunteer as the event in various roles

  • Identify potential sponsorships and funders to support RuralRISE


Diversity and Inclusion

Rural communities have an amazing fabric of people and cultures from an array of backgrounds.  This group will look at bring together and highlighting the unique contributions of diverse communities in rural locations and the significant role they have played and can continue to play in the development of entrepreneurial opportunities.  Collaboration and networking are essential. Activities will include but are not limited to:

  • Identify specific successful rural diversity and inclusive programs to use as models

  • Ways, methods and means to bring about more inclusive activities and programs to help drive entrepreneurial activities from historically under-served communities

  • Highlight the regional and local flavors of unique and diverse rural communities

  • Identify the “stories” of diversity and success




Education in rural communities are often the largest drivers of employment.  In addition, as an institution educational systems can be some of the largest “mind-set” change agents, empowering youth to engage in entrepreneurial programs, events and learning.  This groups will focus on the unique role that kindergarten thru 12 grades can play in helping drive entrepreneurship in rural communities.  Activities will include but are not limited to:

  • How to drive entrepreneurial mindset within the K-12 programs

  • How greater alignment can be driven through increased collaboration with local colleges and universities.

  • Identification of successful programs which can be replicated.

  • Overview of all programs being offered for entrepreneurship in education.

  • Stories of programs making and impact.



The funding working group will explore ways to increase funding for rural entrepreneurship.  Among other things, this group will explore options with philanthropy, public grants, angel investors, foundations, traditional loans, business loan programs, etc.  Activities will include but are not limited to:

  • Coordinate efforts for funding initiatives

  • Inventory funding programs and opportunities

  • Identifying sustainable funding sources

  • Recommending programs and models that work for funders to consider  

  • Assist with ending the grant-to-grant cycle of survival

  • Identify new and innovative ways to fund models

  • What are new funding issues, methods, and models for success, etc.


Policy Public Policy:

This group will help drive greater connections to public policy makers with rural challenges and opportunities.  Activities will include but are not limited to:


  • Making connections for agencies to work together

  • Identifying public policy initiatives that can help drive rural entrepreneurship development

  • Establish clear connections between national, state and local agencies

  • Make recommendations for opportunities for new programs that can help spur rural entrepreneurship


Other - you tell us - what group do you think would be helpful?: