A few years ago, we reviewed our events and programming and asked ourselves what was missing. We surveyed our membership, asked lots of questions, and finally, we decided we needed an event that:
- Saved our members time and money
- Brought opportunities for our businesses to grow
- Highlighted (and showed off) our community
- Convened rural business leaders from far and wide and strengthened our collective (rural) voices around the state
- Became THE conference for rural business on the West Coast
To meet these goals, we started the Rural Business and Innovation Summit.
You wanted opportunities to grow and learn about things like social media marketing but as a business owner in a rural community, it can be hard to find the time to travel out of the area. You’re busy running your business and have little time to attend conferences. We created an event for you that requires no travel.
You wanted access to top-notch speakers but by the time you cover the cost of a conference combined with the travel expenses, it can be costly. We gathered sponsors to keep the cost affordable and hold the meeting here so no travel expenses.
You wanted ways to grow and strengthen your business. So we select topics each year with you in mind – practical tips to help you market more efficiently and effectively, inspiration to inspire you to dream big, and time to network with people around other rural areas to brainstorm and gather ideas.
In short, we want to help your business grow and conferences are a way to do it! We bring the conference to you!
Then we asked ourselves, “What if we dream bigger?” We wondered what it would look like if we showed off our communities to others. What if we highlighted our communities’ opportunities and growth? What if we could eventually make the rest of the state realize that the rural parts have opportunity too? Guess what! It’s working. State agencies from Salem come to this event as a way to stay in touch with rural businesses. Legislative officials attend to get a pulse on what’s happening in rural. They come, they attend, they exhibit. Rural areas are getting noticed.
And after discussing that dream, we had to ask ourselves, “What would happen if rural communities came together, discussed rural issues in terms of opportunity, and brainstormed ideas?” That’s just what we’ve done for the last four years. And you know what happens? Rural communities start to band together. We realize how much we have in common. If we can find those commonalities, can we begin to have a collective voice that makes our urban counterparts listen? Individually, our communities may be small, but together, we’re big.
Finally, we realized there’s one other reason to do this rural business conference – because on the west coast, one didn’t exist. There’s conferences for rural community development. There’s conferences for rural community policies. But we couldn’t find a single conference for rural BUSINESS development. So we created it.
That’s the story behind the Rural Business and Innovation Summit.
This year, it’s on September 13th at Klamath Community College and we invite you to join us for learning, networking, and collaborating. Visit www.ruralbizsummit.com for all the details!