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Grassroots Entrepreneurship

I have been invited to run a couple of Workshops on Grassroots Entrepreneurship at theAnnual Conference of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. This came about because a while back I started writing about Community Supported Business on Startup Owl.

Community Supported Business is a growing phenomenon, especially in rural Vermont, and it will be interesting to see how that state’s experience will be picked up by others. Community Supported Business (CSB) is something that has grown up, especially in rural areas, in response to demand. What does community supported mean? It means that not only are small startups supported by customers in the local community by buying products and services, but they are also supported financially by the community and its members.

This support comes in many forma through loans and equity, both through local government agencies, nonprofits, foundations and other organizations, but also directly from individuals committed to making their community more resilient. In the latter case, the CSB has borrowed a model from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where consumers advance money to producers ahead of the growing season and are repaid with produce and other product when they are harvested or manufactured. Sometimes the ‘repayment’ is with interest and sometimes not.

I would encourage you to read the Rural Research Report on Grassroots Entrepreneurship that I wrote for the Conference to learn more and see what use you can make of CSBs in your own community

PLEASE NOTE: There is tons of useful stuff on Startup Owl, a site that’s been going for a dozen years. So keep browsing, but know that the founder, Will, now devotes most of his time and energy to his new website that you should definitely visit:

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