IN THE NEWS

Forbes | Sorenson Impact, written in partnership with Matt Dunne | 4/16/2020

Across the country, communities large and small, urban and rural, are feeling the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many ways, rural communities could be more vulnerable to the long-term economic impacts of this crisis. Their economies are built around small businesses, have older workforces, and are highly dependent on industries likely to be disproportionately impacted by current events. The evolving repercussions of COVID-19 have made it clearer than ever: we need to intentionally empower rural communities to design sustainable digital economies that can support distributed workforces and catalyze technology startups. This is how we can ensure the recovery builds a geographically inclusive economy.

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Donned in personal protective equipment, medical personnel work outside of St. Luke's Magic Valley's quick care entrance in Twin Falls, Idaho. DREW NASH/TIMES-NEWS VIA AP

STAT | Andrew Joseph | 4/16/2020

As the coronavirus crisis careens toward smaller towns and rural areas, a new data project highlights a stark, looming reality: This pandemic could take a crushing toll on rural areas that are less prepared than many of their urban counterparts.

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The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman | 4/14/2020

Hopefully, when Congress gets done allocating several trillion dollars simply to keep the economy afloat, we will be able to have another discussion: What should we invest in so we don’t just burden young Americans with a mountain of new debt, but also arm them with the tools to grow out of it and still prosper in the 21st century?

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A screenshot of the "Covid-19 Preparedness: How ready is your county?" dashboard. Applied XL/Center on Rural Innovation/STAT

STAT | Andrew Joseph | 4/11/2020

As Covid-19 spills beyond major metropolitan areas, federal, state, and local officials across the country are scrambling to prepare for an onslaught of cases in smaller communities. The dashboard below uses a host of factors — everything from the relative age of the population to the number of nearby hospital beds and staff — to determine which counties are best prepared for an outbreak and which might need more help.

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The Hill | Matt Dunne | 3/30/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the consequences of America’s “digital divide” on full display. Elderly Americans are forced to travel long distances and risk infection at hospitals — or even go without care — because the lack of rural broadband prevents deployment of telehealth.

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Press Release | 2/27/2020

Springfield, VT —The CORI Innovation Fund (CIF) today announced an investment in Voi, Inc, a leader in the use of AI-driven digital technology to provide behavioral healthcare solutions with a focus on detection of and care for those at risk of suicide. This is the second investment made by CIF, a qualified Opportunity Zone fund which invests in high-growth technology companies supporting job creation and revenue generation in small towns across America.

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Press Release | 1/21/2020

Hartland, VT — The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is excited to announce that it has been selected to join the portfolio of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. CORI’s selection comes as part of DRK’s mission to support the next generation of world-changing social entrepreneurs.

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Yahoo Finance | 1/14/2020

MONTROSE, Colo., Jan. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Global leader in connecting and enabling coworking, Proximity Space, Inc., announced today new funding from the CORI Innovation Fund, a qualified opportunity zone fund that invests in high-growth technology companies supporting job creation and revenue generation in rural communities.

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January 14, 2020

Hartland, VT — CORI Innovation Fund (CIF) closed on its first investment: Proximity Space, Inc., a fast-growing software business based in Montrose, CO that creates technology for managing coworking spaces. The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) launched the CORI Innovation Fund initiative in September 2019 and is excited that Proximity is its first investment.  Proximity has demonstrated impressive business growth

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PRESS RELEASE | 1/10/20

Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI) today announced that 10 communities from across the country have been chosen in a highly competitive process to participate in the 2020 Rural Innovation Initiative, a technical assistance program supporting rural communities working to create digital economy jobs with an innovation hub strategy.

The 2020 Rural Innovation Initiative participants are:

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PRESS RELEASE | 12/10/19

Today, at The Opportunity Project Demo Day and Summit at the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland, the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) launched the Rural Opportunity Map, a suite of data visualization and mapping tools to help local leaders, national policymakers, investors, and donors see the potential in rural America. The tool contains hundreds of datasets curated to give insights into tech- and innovation-based economic development strategies and opportunities.

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PRESS RELEASE | 9/25/19

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) today announced it will establish the CORI Innovation Fund (CIF), a qualified opportunity zone fund, to invest in the growth of technology-enabled businesses across the United States.

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DANIEL OBERHAUS | WIRED | 8/12/19

...In 2016, Dunne founded the nonprofit Center on Rural Innovation, which last year launched the Rural Innovation Initiative to create a network of “hubs” that provide a workplace for remote employees and help train locals in digital skills. Dunne believes his initiative can succeed where other programs have failed by creating a national network where workers trained through the program can connect with one another, and allowing employers to tap into a readymade pool of skilled tech workers.

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PRESS RELEASE | 7/31/19

Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), today congratulated three communities on securing i6 Challenge grants via the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies program.

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Magnolia Reporter | 7/26/19

As the nature of working life continues to shift away from manual labor and local manufacturing, creating a digital ecosystem will likely prove key to revitalizing rural areas.

This was Matt Dunne’s message to those at the 2019 Breakthrough Solutions conference, held in late June in Little Rock. Dunne, founder and executive director of the Center on Rural Innovation, based in Hartland, VT, delivered a presentation titled “Stemming the Tide: Creating Digital Ecosystems in Rural Areas.”

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PRESS RELEASE | 6/27/19

The Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC), the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) and Flatiron School, a global school that specializes in teaching tech skills such as Software Engineering, Data Science and UX/UI Design, today announced a collaboration aimed at helping residents of Springfield and the surrounding area learn new skills that open up digital economy employment opportunities. Instead of paying tuition up front, eligible students can access Flatiron School Income Share Agreements (ISAs), and make payments only after securing an annual income of at least $40,000 (calculated as monthly gross income of at least $3,333.34) upon leaving Flatiron School.

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CAREY L. BIRON | Reuters | 5/8/19

Fed up with moving house, free of work constraints and finished with big cities, Kate Yanov took a whole new approach to finding a new family home.

She let it find her.

Under an innovative program, Oklahoma’s second city was actively looking for people just like Yanov to move to Tulsa, seeking residents who would stay at least a year and bring their remote jobs with them.

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BILL O'BRIEN | Record Eagle | 4/29/19

By most any measure, the launch of the 20Fathoms technology and entrepreneurship incubator in Downtown Traverse City is a tremendous success.

With 50 members participating and hosting almost two dozen start-up operations since opening last July, 20Fathoms Executive Director Andy Cole said the incubator has vastly exceeded its early forecasts and in less than a year is more than 95 percent self-sufficient.

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AMY MILSHTEIN | Oregon Business | 4/22/19

The aha moment, according to Shawn Irvine, struck during an ag-tech meetup in Indy Commons.

A storefront coworking space in downtown Independence, Indy Commons regularly hosts after-hours get-togethers like this. Representatives from government, tech associations and business gather with locals to network, chitchat and hope for the creative collision that sparks the next big idea.

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PEGGY LOWE | Marketplace | 4/18/19

A small city in Kansas is determined to prove The Onion wrong.

Folks in Emporia, Kansas, weren’t laughing when the satirical paper named it “best town to escape from” in 2017. In fact, the “brain drain” from rural areas has been a problem across the country for decades. Since 2000, Emporia's population has declined more than 7 percent. It's now home to 24,724 people.

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SUZANNE ANARDE AND MATT DUNNE | Daily Yonder | 3/25/19

To paraphrase the famous writer from America’s heartland: reports of rural America’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

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AUDREY CARO | Polk County Itemizer-Observer | 3/5/19

Independence is one of nine communities selected to participate in a rural innovation program. Shawn Irvine, economic development director, spent two days mid-February with representatives from the Center on Rural Innovation, who visited Independence from the East Coast.

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MATT DUNNE | The Hill | 2/21/19

During National Entrepreneurship Week 2019, it’s time to renew our commitment to supporting rural entrepreneurs to unleash the untapped talent and ideas that exist in small towns across the country.

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BRYCE OATES | Daily Yonder | 2/20/19

High-speed internet connections and innovative leadership are resulting in economic boons for small towns and rural areas. The Rural Innovation Initiative recognizes nine such communities around the United States.

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TOM KRAMER | Up North Live | 2/20/19

Is northern Michigan becoming a high-tech mecca? Maybe. It certainly gaining a reputation for being a good place for entrepreneurs to set-up home base. And now there’s a new incubator in Traverse City. The incubator has been operating for about seven months and already the success stories are mounting.

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RACHEL FERGUS | Republican Eagle | 2/19/19

Red Wing Ignite's successes have landed the incubator a spot in the Rural Innovation Initiative. The Center for Rural Innovation and the Rural Innovation Strategies launched the new program with the intent of supporting rural communities working to create digital economy jobs with an innovation hub strategy.

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LUKE MATHESON | Pine Bluff Commercial | 2/13/19

Go Forward Pine Bluff has been selected to participate in a new program that supports rural communities that are working to create jobs related to the digital economy. According to a news release, the initiative is made possible via a cooperative agreement between Rural Innovation Strategies Inc. and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

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MARK URBAN | Record Eagle | 2/13/19

Selection as one of nine participants in the 2019 Rural Innovation Initiative is no guarantee of operational funding for 20Fathoms. But the Traverse City technology and entrepreneurship has an advantage as it pursues up to $750,000 in funding opportunities from the United States Economic Development Administration, according to 20Fathoms Executive Director Andy Cole. The funding must be matched by the organization.

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CHRIS M LEHMAN | KLCC | 2/12/19

The Willamette Valley town of Independence will get some help in its efforts to position itself as a leader in rural tech innovation.

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PATRICK SISSON | CURBED | 2/12/19

With a new network of rural tech hubs, the Rural Innovation Initiative wants to kickstart small downtowns.

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DALE ELLIS | Arkansas Democrat Gazette | 2/10/19

Go Forward Pine Bluff took another step forward last week with the announcement that it is among nine cities nationally to be selected to receive technical assistance in applying for up to $750,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration through its i6 Challenge grant program.

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When it is complete in 2020, the Gig East Hub at 127 Goldsboro St. will provide two floors of downtown workspace and meeting areas for tech-centric entrepreneurs. Wilson's inclusion in a new national initiative will help make the incubator a reality in 2020. Brie Handgraaf | Times

BRIE HANDGRAAF | Wilson Times | 2/8/19

A reputation for innovation and forward thinking put Wilson at the top of more than 100 peer cities for an initiative that will help make a planned technological incubator not only a reality, but a success.

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LAUREN JOHNSON | KODE | 2/6/19

Block 22 has been noticed by the Inaugural Rural Innovation Initiative for its role in technology and innovation to the area. The program works by promoting rural communities that bring digital economy jobs to their location instead of a big city.

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PRESS RELEASE | 2/5/19

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) and its sister organization, Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), today announced the first cohort of communities selected to participate in the Rural Innovation Initiative, a new program supporting rural communities working to create digital economy jobs with an innovation hub strategy. The program is made possible via a cooperative agreement between RISI and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

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AIMEE PICCHI | CBS News Money Watch | 1/21/19

Rural America is no longer where many young college graduates want to settle, with some fleeing for urban centers like New York or San Francisco. Aside from the glamour of living in those locations, there may be another culprit for the rural "brain drain" that's occurring across the U.S.: student loan debt.

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PATRICK O'GRADY | Valley News | 12/06/2018

The Black River Innovation Campus will be able to accelerate its efforts to create a digital economic hub in Springfield after receiving a federal grant this week.

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Vermont Business Magazine | 12/05/2018

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) today announced that the Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC) has received $724,000 in federal grant funds to support continued progress in building a digital economy ecosystem in Springfield.

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ANNA HENSEL | VentureBeat | 11/16/2018

Small towns are still struggling to amass the high-paying, digital-first jobs needed to succeed in today’s economy. Now a new program from a Vermont nonprofit aims to give them a boost.

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JOHN LIPPMAN | VALLEY NEWS | 9/18/2018

Springfield, Vt. — Springfield once was renowned as a center of the machine tool industry. Now an alliance of nonprofits and town officials say they have taken a big step in making it known as a hub for the digital economy.net.

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JOE MILLIKEN | VERMONT JOURNAL | 9/21/2018

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Gov. Phil Scott and Congressman Peter Welch visited Springfield Tuesday, Sept. 18 to join the Springfield Regional Development Corporation and the Center on Rural Innovation in announcing the raising of $1 million for the development of a new economy initiative called The Black River Innovation Campus. The new facility will offer computer science training, digital job training, and an entrepreneur center to help create and cultivate new, innovative jobs for the region.

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MATT DUNNE | WIRED | 8/26/2018

With all the headlines about the lack of broadband in rural America, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all small towns are stuck in the dark age of dial-up internet.

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MATT DUNNE | VENTUREBEAT | 6/3/2018

A seismic shift is happening in rural America. The opioid epidemic is disabling a segment of the workforce, retail jobs are giving way to ecommerce platforms, and college graduates are moving to cities in search of higher pay.

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MELANIE PLENDA | SENTINELSOURCE.COM | 3/16/2018

There’s a saying that entrepreneurs need 10,000 cups of coffee to get to the right number of people to network with — and to create the community — to be successful.

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BY MATTHEW DUNNE | THE HILL | 02/15/18 12:00 PM EST

Buried deep in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 is an interesting prospect for struggling communities. A new program, which calls for governors to establish Opportunity Zones in their states, is meant to encourage private investment in low-income regions across the country.

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SUSAN SMALLHEER | RUTLAND HERALD | 1/3/2018

SPRINGFIELD — An innovative plan to convert the former Park Street School into a digital-oriented high-tech business accelerator won praise Tuesday from Vermont’s sole congressman.

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BY MATTHEW DUNNE | THE HILL | 12/12/17 11:00 AM EST

A forthcoming decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eliminate net neutrality will instantly undermine a decade's worth of public investment in rural broadband — at the exact moment rural America is ready to realize the economic potential of the digital age.

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MELANIE PLENDA | SENTINELSOURCE.COM | 12/11/2017

Did you ever wonder what would have happened if Rapunzel, trapped in that tall tower in the middle of rural nowhere all those years, used her ingenuity and available resources to fashion her hair into some kind of ladder to get herself out? What would have happened if she didn’t wait for a prince to come in, lend a hand and take her far away to find her fortune?

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BY ANNA HENSEL | VENTUREBEAT | 11/9/2017 5:20 AM

It’s no secret that while Silicon Valley is gaining jobs, rural America is losing them. A September report from the Economic Innovation Group found that nearly 90 percent of the ZIP codes in the U.S. that qualify as “economically distressed” have fewer than 50,000 people.

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BY TONY ROMM | RECODE | 9/5/2017 12:01 AM EDT

Here’s a rundown of some of the candidates, companies and causes the LinkedIn co-founder is backing in 2017

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BY MATT DUNNE | WIRED | 06/28/17 06:35 AM

Until recently, if you happened to have a medical emergency while driving through Townshend, Vermont, a hamlet of just more than 1,000 people in the southern, rural area of the state, it would do no good to pull out your iPhone. You would have no signal. "The irony was not lost on us that someone next door to the hospital couldn't dial 911 on their cell phone," says Roger Allbee, CEO of the local hospital, Grace Cottage.

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STAFF REPORT | VALLEY NEWS | 12/11/2017

The Springfield, Vt. School District is launching a computer science program for middle and high school students, the first of its kind in Vermont, Superintendent Zach McLaughlin announced in a news release last week. The program will start rolling out in January, and is slated to fully materialize in the 2018-2019 school year.

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