Rural communities have banded together, working to restore funding to support their entrepreneurs in Oregon’s small and remote places after the Governor’s 2019-2021 budget initially proposed cutting Business Oregon’s Rural Opportunity Initiative. The Rural Opportunity Initiative (ROI) funds efforts to grow and retain startup businesses, encourage aspiring entrepreneurs, build business skills, and invest resources in rural communities throughout Oregon. “ROI has helped small places in our state identify their own path forward to economic vitality,” explains Heidi Khokhar, Executive Director of Rural Development Initiatives. “Rural towns know what they need and what works best for them. This program lets rural leaders tailor valuable state support to specific, self-identified priorities for training and technical assistance.”
Legislators on the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development agreed; they recommended adding $2 million in lottery funds back into Business Oregon’s biennial budget. Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) is a strong supporter of the program. “This critical funding restores certainty and stability to rural communities across the state as they work to build entrepreneurship and support their local small businesses. Rural priorities are being heard in Salem.”
Rural communities currently participating in the program include Ontario, Klamath Falls, Veneta, Burns, Baker City, Independence, and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. For a full list and description of the program, click here
. RDI and its partners, including Kelley Nonprofit Consulting, who also works with each ROI community, will continue to advocate and monitor state funding for rural entrepreneurship investments. Those interested in learning more can contact RDI at firstname.lastname@example.org
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