Bridging rural America to the future of work. 

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is an action tank dedicated to addressing the challenges of rural American economies. Our work centers around three activities: building models for economic development that make sense for the 21st century, creating data and mapping tools so that rural stakeholders can do more impactful work, and directly investing in rural startups to empower communities to build wealth and jobs.

New Models for Economic Development

We help small towns devise economic development strategies that center around growing the economy with digital jobs, technical skill-building, entrepreneurship, and smart amenities to attract and keep working-age adults. We also help bring national resources and opportunities to the towns we work with, and provide a platform for towns to share best practices and accelerate programming.

We call this program the Rural Innovation Initiative - and you can learn details about our model and this area of work.

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Data and Mapping to Increase Rural Impact

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CORI believes that the economic challenges of 21st century have to be addressed in part by using data to gain a deeper understanding of trends and opportunities. We create mapping and data analysis tools to allow rural stakeholders - from community leaders to investors to national agencies - to do better and more impactful work in rural America. Go here to see our full suite of publicly available mapping tools.

We also create bespoke mapping tools for clients with specific needs. Contact us to find out more.

Direct Investment in Rural Entrepreneurs

Startups are the biggest drivers of jobs and wealth creation in rural areas; however, rural entrepreneurship rates have been declining, and less than 1% of VC investments go to rural areas. As a result, wealth and talent have continued to accumulate in cities, perpetuating the misconception that tech startups can’t work in rural. We started the CORI Innovation Fund, an Opportunity Fund with a focus on investing in startups in Opportunity Zone to help reverse that trend. Learn about the fund below.