Clarion County EDC Receives Grant Through Main Street America, Kauffman Foundation

CCEDC has been selected as one of 30 communities nationwide to participate in Main Street America’s Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Communities Pilot Program.

Jacob Deemer

Jacob Deemer

Published March 29, 2024 12:24 am
Last Updated: March 29, 2024 8:38 am
Clarion County EDC Receives Grant Through Main Street America, Kauffman Foundation

CLARION, Pa. – Clarion County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) has been selected as one of 30 communities nationwide, including Puerto Rico, to participate in Main Street America’s Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Communities Pilot Program, supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, in partnership with Forward Cities.

This program aims to engage, activate, and empower entrepreneurial talent in rural communities so that everyone sees themselves reflected on their Main Street.

Participants will identify barriers preventing entrepreneurs from starting or growing local businesses and develop action items to address them.

Along with joining a cohort of national thought leaders and partners, communities will receive a $5,000 seed grant and $1,500 toward professional development certification with the International Economic Development Council. There is also an opportunity for communities to receive additional funding as the program expands.

According to their Executive Director, Jarred Heuer, the CCEDC has identified downtown revitalization as a key goal within its economic development strategy and will soon be launching a Regional Main Street Initiative throughout the county.

“We are excited to begin working with Main Street America’s E3 Pilot Program and are thankful for Clarion County’s selection,” said Heuer. “The timing of the E3 Program is perfect and will help jumpstart downtown revitalization efforts across the county.”

Main Street America will work closely with the Main Street director in each of the selected communities to gain insight into the state of small business on the ground—the support, resources, and opportunities available to aspiring and existing local entrepreneurs. Members from Main Street America will visit each community in person and provide virtual programming support for selected communities to implement ecosystem building practices for rural communities and entrepreneurs, along with a ‘train-the-trainer’ process for Coordinating Programs to expand the ecosystem-building approach to other Main Street programs within the state or region.

“Holistic, place-based, equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems offer a promising path forward for rural communities that need new local businesses to open and old businesses to thrive,“ says MSA’s Chief Program Officer Matt Wagner, Ph.D. “However, much of the current work on equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem development nationally is focused on large cities. There is a need to deliver these services to rural communities, and Main Street America is uniquely positioned to address that need in partnership with its coordinating programs.”

Over the next few months, CCEDC will be working to collect feedback from local entrepreneurs and small business owners through an anonymous survey. The feedback collected in this survey will help inform the growth and expansion of support for local entrepreneurs in Clarion County. CCEDC’s Eric Funk Jr. hopes to see small business owners across the county engage and take the survey.

Funk said, “I encourage anyone who owns a small business in Clarion County to take the E3 survey so that we can best identify your business needs and assist with those challenges. The success of each business is the success of the County as a whole.”

If you are a local entrepreneur, you are welcome to fill out the survey online by visiting www.ClarionCountyEDC.com/E3.

The Clarion County Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth and development in Clarion County. The CCEDC supports a range of industry sectors, including energy, manufacturing, food and beverage, logistics, and tourism, to promote opportunities within the county.

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