The Future Is Rural: Matt Dunne And The Center On Rural Innovation
Talking to Matt Dunne, the founder and CEO of the national nonprofit Center on Rural Innovation, or CORI, which is based in an old general store in Hartland, is like hearing the history of economic development in Vermont — the one that is not based in Chittenden County.
Dunne, 52, and CORI are leaders in a growing national movement to develop rural entrepreneurship and, along the way, help end the digital divide. As consultants, they begin by helping a rural town increase its broadband and then go on to support business incubators — all of it designed so that tech development does not have to live and die in cities.
To date, CORI has helped communities raise $18 million to help these towns manifest their visions.
CORI provides support, ideas, motivation and mentoring to many towns in rural America that all have the same idea: to develop tech entrepreneurship so people can experience the joys of living in smaller communities where they can feel connected while earning a good living and having a chance to grow — places like Durango, CO; Cape Girardeau, MO; and Springfield, VT.
“Both Durango and Cape Girardeau had already started on their journey to build a tech economy when they applied to work with us,” Dunne said. “We helped them both with building out their strategy to expand their work and their effort to secure $1.5 million in federal dollars to execute on that strategy. In addition, we invested in a tech startup in each of their communities (Agile Space Industries in Durango and SHO in Cape Girardeau) that have gone on to expand significantly in those communities. They are both active participants in our Rural Innovation Network, sharing best practices to communities that are in the earlier stages of building a tech economy.”
See the full profile on Matt and VTTA member CORI here.