Marginalized Rural Americans
Economic Development Implications
These days, America seems so divided and too much of rural America’s landscape is challenged by increasingly marginalized populations. In this month’s feature piece, Marginalized Rural Americans, Economic Development Implications, we discuss some causes and effects of marginalization and provide a recommended reading list for additional information. In a related paper, Sharing the Wealth of America, America’s Dream of Upward Mobility, we dive into the history of the labor movement in the country and how changes have contributed to the disconnection between worker compensation and productivity.
We also explore how communities, particularly rural communities, can overcome marginalization. The biggest opportunity for communities of all sizes is to embrace its entrepreneurial talent. Current Census estimates indicate that in the next 25 years, the U.S. will become a minority-majority country. Already there are a growing list of cities and states that are minority-majority places. Most are vibrant and thriving, rooted in the talents and energy of minority groups, ranging from new immigrants from across the globe to women. Unfortunately, as a nation we are struggling with our diversity, just as we have from our early non-Native founding. Bottom line, we have not equally supported our full range of diversity within our entrepreneurial ecosystems. This is a huge, missed opportunity. Our two newest Pathways to Rural Prosperity podcast episodes tackle this opportunity. We hope you take the time to listen and read the papers!
In Episode 20, Frank Spillers, owner of Rural Community Solutions, and Don Macke talk about ways rural communities can mobilize to become less marginalized and more vibrant. They provide examples of communities that have done the work successfully.
In Episode 21, Dell Gines, a thought leader in community-centered entrepreneur-led development, talks about how embracing diversity, particularly in our people-of-color entrepreneurs, can transform our communities culturally, socially, and especially economically.
Other e2 News

New Analytics Resource For Communities! Throughout the United States e2 has produced Development Opportunity Profiles (DOPs). These profiles provide an overview of a community’s or region’s likely opportunities by providing an in-depth look at population, employment and income trends. We are now offering our new Market Opportunity Profiles (MOPs) that show likely opportunities for area spending capture for growing a more prosperous economy. Download a sample MOP to review, then call toll-free (877) 521-8600 or email to obtain your community’s MOP and/or DOP.
Field News
National Entrepreneurship Ecosystem-Building Policy. Speaking at the Cleveland Fed Policy Summit, Victor Hwang of Right to Start and Rodney Sampson of Opportunity HUB shared insights on building entrepreneurial ecosystems post-pandemic. In particular, they highlighted the need to take a broad perspective of entrepreneurship and its interactions with many program areas, ensuring that tech-based entrepreneurship promotes economic equity, the impact of moving a small portion of existing government contracts to awards specifically to small businesses, and tracking metrics of the impacts of supporting entrepreneurs.

Rural Development: A Scan of Field Practice and Trends. This paper from the Aspen Institute reviews economic development theory, provides qualitative analysis of field practices in rural communities, and highlights areas for action to create a “healthy, equitable and environmentally stable rural America.”

How not to build a high-impact entrepreneurial community. As John Moore points out, “Sometimes, knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do.” In this article, he highlights mistakes to avoid when creating startup ecosystems.

What keeps young adults from rural Kansas? A new study from the Kansas Office of Rural Prosperity and the Kansas Sampler Foundation surveyed younger residents across the state to learn why young families leave rural areas, as well as the opportunities those same areas can offer. Respondents highlighted issues frequently cited in rural areas across the country, including childcare, education, broadband, and housing, as well as a desire for amenities. To address rural concerns, the study suggests developing local champions, improving program coordination, addressing perceptions of failure, and improving support for rural businesses.
Annual Summit September 22-23
A dynamic gathering for thriving small communities, this year there will be in-person options, a virtual (live stream) option, and a connect-only option with seven different program tracks. e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and NetWork Kansas will be presenting sessions during the entrepreneurship track. Don't miss this event sponsored by the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship!