Want to know what rural business leaders want? Ask them.

Rural business leaders want outside investment

Some politicians and others have suggested that supporting local business is the best path to successful rural development. They drone on and on about small business financing, stimulating research among small businesses, supporting trade development, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Have they actually asked rural business leaders about this?

In a recent study done by the Blandin Foundation in rural Minnesota, 1,700 rural business leaders were asked what the most critical rural community issues were.

52 percent of respondents said “attracting businesses to my region” is most important; 26
percent said “retaining existing businesses” is most important and 11 percent said
“supporting local entrepreneurs.”

Funny, eh?

I wonder if we conducted a survey of 1,700 rural business leaders in New Brunswick if they would have the hutzpa to say that attracting business to their region was the most critical rural community issue.

I doubt it. We are so conditioned to believe otherwise, I suspect that 99% would say ‘support small business’.

But I could be wrong about this. These small business leaders in rural communities may actually realize that attracting industry and growing the local economy is the best path to supporting SMEs.

Maybe we should take a cue from Minnesota.