Rural Entrepreneurship

small town cafe and antique store with blue sky background

Downtown Smithville, Texas

Throughout the world, rural communities are lagging behind urban regions in their economic development. Historically, many of these areas are tied to agriculture and development of natural resources, but they lack the infrastructure and connectivity to participate in advances in other elements of economic growth. Diversifying the economies of these regions requires rethinking the way that business ecosystems develop to acknowledge the challenges of educating and retaining talent in remote areas and integrating people, expertise, ideas, and capital. A broad-based program of research on this topic will have to explore new ways for business, government, and the education sector to collaborate.

We are Texas.

In addition to promoting research, IC² is also a “do” tank that creates programs to have a positive impact on the world. As the first initiative in this new direction, the institute is partnering with UT’s School of Undergraduate Studies to create the new Home to Texas program, which will provide undergraduates with paid internships with companies in rural and remote regions while having them engage in experiences to view these communities with new eyes. This student engagement will provide a valuable resource to companies while also allowing students to consider contributing to the economy in rural and remote regions after graduation.

What Starts Here Changes the World.

The IC² Institute is engaging UT Austin faculty to focus on the challenges of rural and small-city communities and explore the role that innovation and entrepreneurship can play in creating new ecosystems and promoting economic renewal. Research findings – in Texas and beyond – will have impact worldwide, especially in developing nations facing challenges due to extreme rural population shifts.

mural with various faces on side of building in rural town, Smithville, Texas

Mural in Smithville, Texas