SEED Model Stakeholders

  • Government agencies: local, state and Federal. They can provide (among others):
    • Tax incentives, zoning laws, grants, laws and policies
    • Sustainability: loans, grants or tax incentives for investments in renewable energy, waste management or carbon reduction
    • Example: “the Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) program provides assistance to rural communities across the country to “grow their outdoor recreation economies and revitalize Main Streets”. This is a collaborative between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC)” (USDA, 2022).
  • For-profit businesses
    • Businesses are essential for economic development in rural communities, which need dining, lodging, shops, services, banks, hardware stores, etc.
    • They also promote economic development via local employment, taxes, and community engagement.
    • Can serve as role models in sustainable practices: environmental, economic and social.
    • Research has shown that rural areas that promote a small business/entrepreneurial ecosystem generate wealth, develop leadership and lead to thriving, vibrant communities. (Brookings, 2023)
    • “Small business entrepreneurs offer communities economic sustainability and are not necessarily driven by passing national trends. They bring growth, provide employment opportunities to local residents, and innovation to rural communities. They also generate revenue that converts local taxes into community improvements such as schools, parks, public transit, and healthcare. The Better Business Bureau’s national statistics show that when you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays within the local economy, compared to a non-local business where $43 of that $100 dollars stays in the community. Most small businesses also participate in volunteer work, charitable donations, community festivals, local sports teams, and benefits. In fact, their data shows 52% of small businesses support charitable contributions, and 90% donate to local causes.” (Kaufman, 2023)
  • Nonprofit organizations
    • They have deep local knowledge and can help with fund-raising, volunteers, and working collaboratively with the communities, businesses and government agencies. They can act as effective community development intermediaries.
    • Example: Laramie, WY was part of a downtown revitalization program. A nonprofit acted as the focal point and champion between business owners and city and state government officials to ensure that the small businesses had knowledge and access to different levels of resources. For example, they helped to apply for revitalization grants for the town and for small businesses. They also helped the towns develop funding sources such as bicycle rentals or parking fees. (Brookings, 2023)
  • Communities:
    • Communities provide the local knowledge that informs the roles of the other stakeholders.
    • They act as the drivers of environmental, economic and social change in collaboration with the other stakeholders.
    • According to McKinsey (2023), “Rural communities require three interconnected, baseline elements to thrive: sectors, workforce, and community and connectivity.
      • Sectors are the industries that bring wealth into the community. “Thriving rural communities play to their region’s strengths, supporting sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, energy, tourism, and postsecondary education.”
      • Workforce: “A healthy, skilled workforce is the most important factor in attracting and retaining employers in key sectors.11 In addition, workers spread wealth and create additional jobs by buying goods and services within their communities.”
      • Community and connectivity: This refers to the intangible elements that make a community vibrant and a great place to live such as ” transportation infrastructure and access to broadband, healthcare, childcare, and arts and culture.”
      • Example: Crosby, MN: This small town was in decline after the major industry left. However, in collaboration with a nonprofit and several government agencies, they created “the state’s first mountain bike park, featuring 25 miles of trails. Since 2011, 15 new businesses—including a brewery, a yoga studio, and a farm-to-table restaurant—have opened in Crosby, largely serving the tens of thousands of annual visitors to the trail system.”
    • Indigenous People: We value the role of indigenous people in our communities. In addition, “The University of Maine recognizes that it is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation, where issues of water and territorial rights, and encroachment upon sacred sites, are ongoing. Penobscot homeland is connected to the other Wabanaki Tribal Nations — the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Mi’kmaq — through kinship, alliances and diplomacy. The university also recognizes that the Penobscot Nation and the other Wabanaki Tribal Nations are distinct, sovereign, legal and political entities with their own powers of self-governance and self-determination.”
  • Education
    • All stakeholders must be educated on the needs of the communities and how they can all help each other.
    • Awareness and knowledge of the benefits of this collaborative approach provides better engagement among the stakeholders.
  • Ecosystem
    • Our goal is to create an ecosystem where the different stakeholders work collaboratively to create synergies.
    • Synergies are value-added benefits derived from combining the knowledge, skills and resources of the stakeholders to create a sustainable, vibrant thriving community in remote, rural areas.
    • In order to develop a sustainable community ecosystem, the stakeholders must collaborate with a dedicated effort to build and maintain it.

Brookings, 2023:

Kaufman, 2023:

McKinsey & Company, 2022,

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