Resource Details

Broadband & Internet, Business, Economic Development, Start-Up & Entrepreneur, Workforce

Rural Innovation Initiative

Our team of in-house strategy and data experts works with rural communities to create strong digital economies and help them chart their own courses toward prosperity. Through the Rural Innovation Initiative, we’ve helped our communities raise more than $13 million in federal funding and matching dollars through the highly competitive Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale Venture Challenge Grant.


The partners we work with, like the communities we serve, are unique. That being said, we typically work with economic development organizations, entrepreneurship programs, local government bodies, post-secondary institutions, workforce development boards, coworking spaces, business leaders, and local advocates.

Top Benefits

  • We identify current assets, opportunities, gaps, and challenges that communities must factor as they begin building their digital economy strategy. This begins with economic data analysis and interviews with community stakeholders and partners.
  • Our rigorous technical assistance supports participants over the course of several months as they develop and refine their digital economy strategies. This cohort-based model enables participants to share and learn from each other while our team delivers tools, templates, expert guidance, and best practices for designing inclusive digital economies.
  • By the end of the Initiative, participants will have a clear understanding of their digital economy ecosystem, a clear strategy to develop competitive grant proposals that align with their vision and goals, additional resources and assets to support future fundraising efforts.
  • Once communities complete the Rural Innovation Initiative and demonstrate ongoing commitment to developing their digital economy ecosystem strategy, they are eligible to join our Rural Innovation Network.

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