10 Communities Selected to Participate in 2020 Rural Innovation Initiative to Catalyze Digital Economy Job Growth in Small Town America – Center on Rural Innovation (CORI)

  • Existing high-speed broadband;
  • Available real estate, or significant portions of the community located in Opportunity Zones and/or New Market Tax Credit census tracts;
  • A relationship with a four-year endowed residential college or university campus willing to partner in this effort; and
  • A nonprofit organization prepared to lead the initiative.

RISI is also creating a virtual network to support capacity building, link innovation hubs, enable communities to make connections to new sources of capital, expand their networks with national technology leaders, and secure digital economy jobs for remote workers in their communities.

RISI works with its sister organization CORI to achieve sustainable economic success in small town America. The first round of the Rural Innovation Initiative in 2019 catalyzed $5.3 million in new investment in rural innovation hubs in three small towns and brought nine communities into the virtual network. CORI developed and regularly updates the Rural Opportunity Map[15], a suite of data visualization and mapping tools to help local leaders, national policymakers, investors, and donors see the potential in rural America.


This content was prepared by Rural Innovations Strategies, Inc. using Federal funds under award ED18HDQ3030013 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.


  1. ^ Rural Innovation Initiative (ruralinnovation.us)
  2. ^ Center on Rural Innovation (ruralinnovation.us)
  3. ^ Ada Jobs Foundation (www.growada.com)
  4. ^ Southern Utah University Business Resource Center (www.suu.edu)
  5. ^ Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (goscape.org)
  6. ^ Innovate Marquette Smartzone (www.innovatemarquette.org)
  7. ^ Shaping Our Appalachian Region (www.soar-ky.org)
  8. ^ University of Wisconsin-Platteville (www.uwplatt.edu)
  9. ^ Shawnee State University (www.shawnee.edu)
  10. ^ Staunton Creative Community Fund (stauntonfund.org)
  11. ^ Taos HIVE (taoshive.com)
  12. ^ Central Maine Growth Council (www.centralmaine.org)
  13. ^ catalyzed $5.3 million (ruralinnovation.us)
  14. ^ U.S. Census definitions (www.census.gov)
  15. ^ Rural Opportunity Map (ruralopportunitymap.us)
1 2 3 4 5