Spring 2020 News
This month we're taking a break from posting original material on entrepreneurial ecosystem building to share what we think are helpful and inspiring stories coming from communities of all sizes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other stories of hope. In the meantime, you can access our first three months of materials in the blog link below.

Over the past month our conversations surrounding the pandemic and entrepreneurs have led us to believe there are some common threads to those businesses that will survive and thrive beyond this pandemic:

  • They were some of the quickest to recognize the potential impact and begin strategizing adaptations.
  • They are flexible, forward-looking, and see opportunity in challenges.
  • They are focused on the well-being of their employees and partners.
  • They see value in collaborating on solutions and supporting competitors even in a time of need.

In short, the "sur-thrivers" are the folks who are rooted in the community, are working toward the good of the whole, and will take away lessons for what can be done better in the future. Once we move into pandemic and recession recovery, growing community-centered entrepreneurial ecosystems will be more important than ever.

Be safe, be well, and please take some time to enjoy Spring!
Field News - COVID-19

Colorado may divert incentive fund to help small businesses. Colorado considers alternatives to help support small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, including re-purposing incentive funds to cover interest payments on microloans. Read more.

Omaha nonprofit "saw a need in the community," so it's making a lot more toilet paper. Outlook Nebraska ramped up toilet paper production and sold directly to consumers to serve a need in the community and further support the blind and visually impaired people it employs. Read more.

One City’s Road to Recovery Offers Lessons, and Hope. The Boston Fed gave grants to help Lawrence, MA and other small urban areas to develop programs to build on local assets and address long-term community decline (including overcoming language barriers between workers and employers, financial literacy courses, and funding for small business initiatives). Challenges are still present, but the success has been sufficient for the Boston Fed to consider expanding the program to rural communities. For info.

Golden LEAF deploys $15M in funding to launch NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program. The Golden LEAF Foundation in North Carolina is launching a loan program to supplement other resources available to small businesses suffering losses from COVID-19. Read more.

Rural Resources and Information. Aspen CSG has put together a resource page with helpful links and news on COVID-19. Click here.

Network Kansas discusses rapid loan deployments in response to COVID-19. Listen to Steve Radley and Erik Petersen of NetWork Kansas discuss rapid deployment of emergency small business credit in an interview with Dell Gines, Kansas City Fed.

CANCELLED Economic Gardening training and certification class scheduled for May 4-6 in Colorado. video conference training is being explored. Email Chris Gibbons for info.
Other Field News
Agritourism Workshop helps South Dakota producers identify opportunities. South Dakota State University Extension and South Dakota Dept. of Tourism held a workshop to help local agricultural enterprises learn ways to expand tourism offerings and develop alternative income streams. In addition to presentations on relevant opportunities, the workshop included tours of active agritourism operations.
Article link.

Population Turnover and the Growth of Urban Areas. This study analyzes population turnover rates in urban areas (including micropolitan regions). It relates population turnover to business turnover, which can be an economic catalyst through the transfer of skills and knowledge in domestic migration and shows steeper rates of population turnover as communities increase in size. Read the study.
Rural Rise Summit 2020
Sunday, June 28 - Monday, June 29 in Emporia, Kansas. Join rural entrepreneurship ecosystem builders from around the country at the Rural Rise Summit.
2020 ESHIP Summit
Given the evolving impact of COVID-19, the 2020 ESHIP Summit, originally scheduled for June, is postponed until later in the year. The new event dates will be announced later