The ways that different places and people interact with tech-based economic development is incredibly varied — geography, demographics, and the make-up of a local and regional economy all play into the ways the economic development happens. 

Throughout 2021, the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) and Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI) received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) program to think critically about tech-based economic development in rural places across the country. How have rural communities experienced the process of digital economic development? What challenges did they face? What types of unexpected opportunities did they encounter? And what types of economic forces impacted their efforts? 

This deep dive led to the creation of two different series of publications: a set of five qualitative case studies to understand the experiences of rural places undertaking digital economic development and a set of five policy/research briefs to assess the economic factors that are most likely to impact rural places in the U.S. in the coming years.

At a February roundtable webinar event, our team offered insight into the three major trends from across all the research. Several rural practitioners joined us to compare  their practical, on-the-ground context with the data and theory we gathered throughout our work. 

Now, this entire suite of resources detailing how rural communities across the country are grappling with tech-based economic development is available to anyone — rural community leaders, economic development practitioners, policymakers, and residents alike. Each of the case studies even includes a Rural Economic Development Toolkit designed as a way to guide local leaders through questions to help them think about their own potential on a variety of topics concerning their own digital/tech-based economic development. 

Below you can find a glimpse into each of the case studies and reports:

Case Studies

Meet rural ecosystem leaders and learn about their tech-enabled economic development efforts. (If planning to use any of the visualizations included, please cite using the following format: Courtesy: the Center on Rural Innovation).

Reports and Policy Briefs

Read the reports and policy briefs that examine the different trends that affect tech-enabled economic development in rural America. If planning to use any of the visualizations included, please cite using the following format: (Courtesy: the Center on Rural Innovation).