New effort puts focus on entrepreneurship in Rural America

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Compeer Financial alongside Community and Economic Development Associates, or CEDA, have put together the Rural Business Innovation Lab. It is a program for entrepreneurs in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“The Rural Business Innovation Lab, or Innovation Lab for short, is a cohort-based entrepreneur development program for innovative rural entrepreneurs. So, we specifically are looking for eight to 10 innovative rural entrepreneurs who are looking to scale their business and specifically looking for folks working within a natural resources value chain, so any sort of industry that may touch natural resources. That can be agriculture, that could be forestry, that can be water, and, more broadly, sustainability-circularity concepts as well,” Robert Harris of CEDA said.

Three years of funding will be available to qualifying entrepreneurs. Harris says each person will get hands-on training throughout the eight month program.

“You’ll receive the overall cohort experience. So, the idea is to build density within the social networks of rural entrepreneurs so that, as they work on innovative things that they can work and problem solve together, we’ll also be putting on thematic workshops throughout different locations, depending on where their cohort members are based. We’ll come together and work on some sort of finance topic, for example. Or if they’re looking into security venture capital or angel investments, we’ll be working together on that. Each person will be assigned an individual consultant, who will provide some hands-on consulting throughout the eight months,” Harris said.

The program does not cost a penny. If you would like to apply, click here.

Story via NAFB

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