About the project

Portsmouth, Ohio, is a rural community of about 20,300 in Scioto County, located on the southern edge of the state, just north of the Kentucky border. Portsmouth was selected to be a part of the Rural Innovation Initiative’s 2020 Development Cohort, a technical assistance program run by the Center on Rural Innovation and its sister organization Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. 

This case study examines how a rural community can strategically leverage diverse sources of funding to support the staffing, programming, and physical space necessary to build out a tech-based economy ecosystem.

In Portsmouth, the central ecosystem leaders garnered funding from a variety of sources in their efforts to finance staff, space, and programming, and did so using several key strategies: 

  • Developing a clear vision and knowing its funders
  • Taking advantage of capacity-building opportunities
  • Assessing how different funders play different roles for the community 

Portsmouth is just one community of many across the U.S. that tell the story of how bringing together partners across sectors and social divides can lead to the positive growth of a tech-based economy in rural America. In addition to outlining the processes and strategies that Portsmouth took, we offer a toolkit of questions and suggestions for rural communities to consider when thinking about approaches to strategic funding.

Read the report:

This content was prepared by Rural Innovations Strategies, Inc. using Federal funds under award ED20HDQ3120070 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.