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Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 1/28/2020


USA Opportunity Zones Tool
U.S. Economic Development Administration and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business launched a new web-based mapping tool to help investors and economic developers target investment toward Opportunity Zones to create positive, socially-conscious change in communities.

Collaborative Giving 
This publication provides a roadmap of how to collaborate to meet philanthropic needs.

Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA)
PAYA offers resources and research for workforce development including a new tracker to learn what apprenticeship innovations are happening in your region.

The National Women's Business Council (NWBC) 2019 Annual Report
This publication reports efforts to improve access to capital for female founders, encourage more women to start and grow companies in STEM-related fields, and remove obstacles for women business owners in rural areas.

It’s Time to Connect Rural Health Equity with Community and Economic Development
This article outlines how new research and resources support the critical connection between health, rural community and economic development.

Event Opportunities

2020 RTIME
February 16 – 19 | Phoenix, AZ
This NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association event brings together more than 2,200 leaders in the industry that are ready to push the limits with innovative tracks for success to advance communities with accessible and affordable next-generation technology for subscribers to stay connected locally, nationally and globally. GCTC Smart Ag and Rural SuperCluster Workshop.

2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum
February 20 - 21 | Arlington, VA
This year’s plenary panel and several breakout sessions will focus on science and innovation as a driving force with future growth as well as challenges facing farmers.

Rural Youth Assembly
April 2 - 5 | McAllen, TX
The Rural Assembly will host rural and native young adults from across the country to discuss issues critical to quality of life.

CDFI Symposium
May 19 - 20 | St. Louis, MO
The CDFI Symposium will showcase data, research and policy studies that increase understanding of the roles, impact and activity of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).


Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 1/21/2020


CORI Rural Opportunity Map
The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) offers various mapping resources for rural leaders, community members, funders, and investors to understand the landscape and identify opportunities and strategies to achieve sustainable economic success in small town Rural America. Tutorial.

Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Center for Indian Country Development offers this resource guide for tribal leaders outlining homeownership tips and tools to increase homeownership to assist in community asset building, economic development, and community transformation.

Innovation is Widespread in Rural Areas, Not Just Cities 
A comprehensive measure developed at the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development shows that innovation is widespread even in rural places not typically thought of as innovative.

Enhanced Federal Information Sharing on Coordination Could Improve Rural Transit Services
Government Accountability Office report details the Federal Transit Administration's efforts in improving rural public transit coordination and identifies areas for improvement.

Should Your Nonprofit Build an Endowment?
This Nonprofit Quarterly publication offers pros and cons for non-profit organizations to consider when pondering cultivating an endowment.  

Event Opportunities

Mid-America Workforce Summit
January 22 – 23 | Topeka, KS
An annual forum for community leaders and chamber representatives, legislators and government officials, employers, educators, and local workforce board members to take action to address the new realities facing the workforce and economic development issues in the midwestern region of the United States.

2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum
February 20-21 | Arlington, VA
This year’s plenary panel and several breakout sessions will focus on science and innovation as a driving force with the future growth as well as challenges facing farmers.

CDFA Federal Policy Conference
April 14-15 | Washington, DC
The Council of Development Finance Agencies Federal Policy Conference will feature development finance experts and practitioners from key federal agencies, congressional offices, and policy organizations and will feature an opportunity for attendees to network. A kickoff workshop will focus on federal grant application writing.

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 11/12/2019


Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership
This Center for Indian Country Development of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Enterprise Community Partners publication aims to support leaders with homeownership resources and programs.

2019 National Tribal and Rural Training Needs Assessment
Center for Best Practices in Law Enforcement, Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium reports findings from a survey of rural and tribal first response organizations to help better understand training needs and delivery preferences.

Food Systems & Investment Tools
Council of Development Finance Agencies white paper focusing on investment tools, which work to fill the capital stack for businesses and projects by incentivizing and enabling investment in construction, equipment, machinery, technology, and other major development. It explains New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Preservation Tax Credits, State Tax Credit Programs, and Opportunity Zones.

Accessing the Internet in Rural America
Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy weighs in on how rural areas lag behind urban areas in gaining high-speed internet access by analyzing recent data, including subscription rates and how it impacts rural development. 

Event Opportunities

Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Program Review
November 18 – 21 | Lakewood, CO
Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy hosts the annual Program Review as an opportunity for Indian tribes to network with other tribes that are pursuing energy self-sufficiency. The 2019 Program Review will feature project status updates from tribes across the nation who are leveraging Office of Indian Energy grant funding to deploy energy technologies or initiate the first steps to energy development.

Tribal Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance: Using Data to Drive Policies and Programs
November 19 | Free Webinar
Center for Disease Control seminar on policies affecting rural tribal Youth health on behaviors and experiences that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults.

Health Resources & Services Administration Virtual Job Fair for Rural Sites
November 20 | Free Virtual Event
Health Resources and Services Administration provides this virtual resource for rural areas to connect healthcare sites with job-seeking primary care trainees and practicing clinicians.

Western Governors Association Webinar: Broadband Deployment in Tribal Communities
November 21 | Free Webinar
Panelists will discuss broadband infrastructure challenges affecting tribal communities and highlight how creative uses of wireless spectrum can help close the digital divide in these areas. 

Remaking The Economy In Indian Country
November 21 | Free Webinar
Topics outline the importance of linking economic development and cultural strategies: Rebuilding food sovereignty, rediscovering pre-contact indigenous foods, ways to build urban-rural links in the food system, food hubs and urban markets, fair pricing and using co-op strategies to help Native practitioners earn the true value of their labor.

2020 Agricultural Outlook Forum
February 20-21 | Arlington, VA
Join this important event to discuss key issues and emerging opportunities, book the pre-forum field trip, or apply for the USDA Future Leaders in Agriculture Program. Follow the conversation at #AgOutlook on USDA’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Innovation Center Letter, October 15, 2019


For Co-op Conversions, It’s All in the Timing
A success story about an employee ownership conversion – turning established businesses into worker cooperatives or other kinds of employee-owned businesses.

You’ve Got Your Market Study, Now What?
The Food Co-op Initiative provides free resources to individuals working to start a retail food or grocery co-op. 

Cooperative Educators Network – ed.coop
A free and open hub for educational resources for teaching and learning about cooperative enterprises. Services are offered in English, Spanish and French.

National Tribal Energy Summit: Recorded Sessions
Access videos from the plenary sessions regarding tribal energy issues.

Study: Broadband a Boost for Rural Telemedicine Use A new study shows that people in counties with poor broadband access are less likely to be treated via telemedicine.

Event Opportunities

Small & Strong Food Co-op Conference
October 26, 2019 | Bloomington, MN
A networking and training event for staff and board members of small and startup food co-ops offering sessions on financial training, community impact and strategies for saving the small-town grocery store through conversion to cooperative ownership.

Toolkit Implementation:  Practical Application of Tools and Skills for Cooperative Developers
November 4-7| Madison, Wisconsin
A workshop that builds upon basic concepts to then dive deeper into co-op business planning tools, like feasibility, to support in stable business development. Scholarships available.

Utilizing USDA’s Loan Guarantee Program to Finance Tribal Projects
November 6, 2019 | Free Webinar
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and USDA Rural Development provide a tribal learning event to examine the USDA’s Loan Guarantee Programs from a banker’s perspective.

National Rural Economic Developers Association Annual Conference
November 6-8, 2019 | Kansas City, Missouri
The conference features discussions about the advancement of rural development and the achievement of social and human service objectives in rural areas.

National SBIR Road Tour Schedule 2019
November 13–15 | Miami, Florida and Puerto Rico
Small Business Administration Road Tour connects entrepreneurs working on advanced technology to the country’s largest source of early stage funding with a focus on next generation research and development.

2019 National Homecare Cooperative Conference
November 19-22|Dulles, Virginia
Homecare worker cooperative members and developers from across the country will gather at the fourth annual National Homecare Cooperative Conference.

Newsletters, websites and emails from which we gather this information include:

  • USDA Rural Development’s full Catalog of Programs
  • Grants.gov
  • Foundation Center
  • The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
  • Pew Research Center
  • Philanthropy News Digest 
  • Rural LISC e-newsletter
  • National Association for Development Organization

USDA Rural Development Innovation Center

1400 Independence Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20250

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Webpage: usda.gov/rdinnovation





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