Cowboy Entrepreneurship: The Business Model To Invigorate Rural America In The Next Decade

Friday, January 03, 2020

Rural America is suffering. The economic recovery from the Great Recession has largely missed rural America. A “sharing” business model, epitomized by urban companies like Lyft and AirBnb, could be adapted to empower rural entrepreneurs and communities, without reliance on external assistance.

Prior recoveries saw broad economic growth across the United States, driven by manufacturing and geographically dispersed services. Not this time. Urban areas alive with innovative new technology companies and professional jobs drove the most recent recovery, with less economic activity flowing to the small towns scattered across the country, according to economists at the Economic Innovation Group. This dearth both emanated from and exacerbated rural “brain drain,” when ambitious, smart young people permanently migrate to cities. Research from the MacArthur Foundation reports that those who stay back, often to work in agriculture, face declining income as family farms succumb to the economies of scale harnessed by the large agribusiness conglomerates.

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