Local Banking Boosts Local Communities

2010 Rural Small Business Trends

Small Business Trends, an online publication for small business owners and entrepreneurs, has compiled the top 10 trends for small businesses in rural communities for the coming year.The list highlights opportunities—like the growth of the Shop Local campaigns and expansion of rural broadband funded by the stimulus—as well as challenges, including state budget cuts and tighter lending markets, facing rural small businesses today.

Small Business Trends author Becky McCray, who also writes her own blog Small Biz Survival, suggests thinking beyond the Shop Local campaigns that blossomed in 2009 to promoting a Bank Local effort in 2010, as an opportunity to move away from banks that are “too big to fail” and support strong local communities.The Move Your Money campaign is attracting attention to the Bank Local effort, offering a zip code tool for people to identify local banks and credit unions in their communities across the country.

In addition to providing strong support for local economies, local banks and credit unions are better suited to support small businesses and entrepreneurs—both of which are vital to the continued success of rural communities throughout our region.

Appalachia is fortunate to host several organizations aimed at supporting regional small businesses to capitalize on this year’s opportunities, including the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development’s Enterprise Development Program and the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation’s newly expanded Business Innovation and Growth Center in Kentucky and the Natural Capital Investment Fund serving North Carolina, northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia and West Virginia.

TechGROWTH Ohio is convening a “Re-inventing Small Business in Appalachia” series next month to bring resources from Ohio state and local organizations to assist would be entrepreneurs and inventors free of charge, in hopes of growing small businesses in southeastern Ohio.

There is reason to hope that despite tighter state budgets and a challenging lending environment nationwide, local banks and enterprise development organizations throughout the region will make 2010 a great year for small businesses in Appalachia.

 

Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.