Innovative Economies: The Emerging Models for Rural Development & Community Leadership

Track Leader: Emily Breedlove

As the paradigms of economic and community development continue to evolve across rural America, it is becoming increasingly important for local leaders to share best practices from the front-lines to stay current within the ever-changing landscape. We are witnessing how the Local Economies Movement is introducing powerful modifications to the traditional economic development models, including the systematic break-down of industry silos and the intentional reallocation of resource access.

This class will take a closer look at how fostering “cultures of innovation” and “economic inclusion” are redefining regional methods for achieving regional revitalization, sustainable market growth, and equitable community advancement. Attendees will also review case studies and real-world examples depicting successful rural initiatives from across the nation. (Topics will include: downtown revitalization, economic development, entrepreneurial ecosystems, cluster growth [arts, food, tech, outdoor], tourism, and more)

Who Should Attend?.

Those who actively play a part within their local economies, either as a paid professional or a passionate volunteer. Advocates come in all shapes and sizes.

Suggested Skill Level:

All skill levels are welcome. Case Studies will review Market Data and Grant Reporting.

What Can I Expect to Learn?

Participants will learn about current trends, programmatic models, and lessons from the front-lines. We will uncover ways that other communities and thought leaders are driving innovative economic growth, with the ultimate aim of gleaning tactics for replication. There will be ample time spent on developing strategies for attendees to bring this new found insight back to their own communities, to ensure that all knowledge acquired is turned immediately into relevant application.

What will participants be better prepared to do as a result?

Participants will be equipped to better identify opportunities to foster more innovative solutions within their own community, have a deeper understanding of ways to make their local economy ecosystem function more effectively, and be able to access proven methods for driving strategic growth within a rural area. They will be more capable of navigating this highly complicated terrain of creative opportunity!

List of Tools, Takeaways, and/or Resources:

  • Relevant Case Studies
  • Vetted Programmatic Models
  • Qualitative & Quantitative Analysis
  • Funding Opportunities & Application Requirements
  • Inspiration & Insight

Track Capacity: 40

Emily Breedlove, Innovative Economies

Emily is a Branding Specialist and Growth Strategist equipping individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and communities to do BIG things. Having spent the past 15+ years working in small business support and community development, Emily has been fortunate enough to have experienced this space from both the entrepreneurial approach and the resource provider perspective. She has been working with programs such as the SBA funded ScaleUp WNC program, and the new Certified Entrepreneurial Communities Program through Creative Economic Development Consulting. Emily is also the host of many regional events such as; Show Me the Money Conference + Funding Expo, Mompreneur Gathering, and Authentic Communities Summit.

Emily is a certified trainer in the REAL Entrepreneurship (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) Curriculum and serves as Board Treasurer for The Sequoyah Fund, the Community Development Financial Institution for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She also is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, providing support in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development. Emily has been a trainer for the Brushy Fork Institute at Berea College since 2013, teaching workshops on Entrepreneurship, Tourism, and Marketing.

Prior to her current entrepreneurial ventures, Emily served as the Director of the Certified Entrepreneurial Communities® Program with the AdvantageWest Economic Development Group, Marketing Professor at Southwestern Community College, and the Founder of the Center for New Mountain Business. Emily is passionate about working one-on-one with rural communities and entrepreneurs to develop strategies for collaborative progress and then catalyzing those initiatives with authenticity, innovation and a deep respect for cultural values.