Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rural Maine Publication Highlights Rural Entrepreneurs

Publication from Rural Maine Highlights Rural Entrepreneurs

Report illustrates that unique culture and character, combined with creativity and talent, can lead to a successful business venture

by Jon Bailey, Center for Rural Affairs, jonb@cfra.org

Readers of this newsletter know that the Center for Rural Affairs has long advocated for rural policy based on entrepreneurship and small business development. We have witnessed in Nebraska how rural policy based on entrepreneurship can transform individuals, families, and communities through our REAP program.

We have witnessed the strength of the rural entrepreneurial spirit in our studies of the economy of the Great Plains and the Midwest. Now, another example of the entrepreneurial spirit in rural America has come our way, and we are honored to recommend it to our readers and anyone interested in how rural policy should look.

Telling Their Stories: Women Business Owners in Western Maine is a new publication of the Western Mountain Alliance, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., and the University of Maine at Farmington’s Women’s Studies Program. Telling Their Stories looks at 14 different rural entrepreneurs, their businesses, their motivations, and the risk-taking and perseverance required to make a success of each venture. Just as important, the publication also discusses the community, culture, and character of rural western Maine and how that influenced the success of each business.

While Telling Their Stories focuses on entrepreneurs in and the character of rural western Maine, it is a symbol of all of rural America. All rural areas have unique cultures and characters that can inspire entrepreneurs. And all rural communities have creative and talented residents who – often with a little assistance – can transform those ideas and talents into their own successful business ventures.

What is needed is a realization in rural communities that the kinds of businesses highlighted in Telling Their Stories are important and a vital part of the future of those communities. What is needed is a new rural policy that allows that realization to become reality by focusing resources on approaches to take advantage of rural character, culture, creativity, and talents.

Telling Their Stories is an important addition to pointing us down the path of that realization and a new rural policy. As debate begins on the 2007 farm bill and the kind of rural policy and the kind of rural communities we want to create, anyone interested in the future of rural America should read the inspiring stories in Telling Their Stories.

You can download a copy at the Western Mountain Alliance website, www.westernmountainsalliance.org , or contact them at 207.778.3885 to request a copy.

Agree? Disagree? Post a comment here or contact John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.

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