Rural Businesses Face Different Set of Challenges

WASHINGTON —  As small businesses play crucial roles in rural communities, the challenges they face differ greatly from their counterparts in cities, finds a report from Small Business Majority, an advocacy group

Among the top challenges are geographic isolation, inadequate broadband internet service, difficulty in hiring and retaining qualified workers, barriers to capital and reluctance from major companies, banks and health-care providers to provide service in rural areas.

The top two challenges, according to those polled for the report, are taxes (40%) and lack of customers (39%). In addition to nationwide polling, Small Business Majority hosted focus group sessions in rural communities in Georgia, Mississippi, Texas and New Mexico.

“Rural entrepreneurs start businesses at higher rates than their urban counterparts and play a particularly vital role in rural America, creating roughly two-thirds of new jobs and supporting the economic and social well-being of their communities,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “Unfortunately, rural communities are struggling to recover economically from the Great Recession, lagging behind their urban and suburban counterparts. If we want to revive rural economies we must stimulate entrepreneurial activity in these communities to help reverse these trends.”

In the report, the advocacy group put forth several recommendations for assisting rural small businesses. These include the promotion of cooperation between existing organizations and anchor institutions, support for rural entrepreneurs, increasing small-business lending options for rural communities and investing in rural infrastructure, both digital and physical.

The full report and its recommendations can be found here.

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