Celebrating our Partners: Business Service Providers
Today’s Great Outdoors Month gratitude post goes to the robust network of business service providers that work with us to grow the region’s outdoor rec economy.
As rural businesses or entrepreneurs involved in our ecosystem look to start or expand, we connect them to this network for technical assistance, to explore financing options, and for professional development opportunities.
We make dozens of referrals each year to technical assistance organizations like the PA Small Business Development Centers, PennTAP, and Industrial Resource Centers, as well as to low-interest lenders like the Progress Fund CDFI, the region’s local development districts, and local loan programs. (We have resource sheets, broken down by county, that we provide to businesses in the Wilds Cooperative, to provide a birds-eye view of resources available to them).
This year, thanks to funding support by the Appalachian Regional Commission, we kicked off a three-year program to run $50,000-to-win BIG IDEA contests with our friends at Ben Franklin Technology Partners, helping to unlock latent innovation in the region. (Learn more about the 2022 winners here.)
And thanks to funding support from the First Community Foundation of Pennsylvania, the Innovative Manufacturers Center has been assisting us with outreach to makers and manufacturers on the eastern side of the region. We simply couldn’t be building what we’re building without the support of these types of organizations!
They are a critical part of our ecosystem, and we appreciate all that they do to help rural entrepreneurs and, by extension, to grow our region’s outdoor economy. We would deepen and widen these relationships through our Build Back Better Regional Challenge effort.
About the Series:
To celebrate June being Great Outdoors Month, we are highlighting partners throughout June who are helping grow the outdoor recreation economy here in the PA Wilds to help revitalize rural communities. Our 13-county region is the only outdoor rec industry cluster to make it to the final round of the national Build Back Better Regional Challenge competition, where we are now competing for $50M in federal investment from the US Economic Development Administration. We couldn’t have made it this far without our incredible partners!
Learn more about the PA Wilds and the BBBRC competition here.
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