Smart Firms in Small Towns

View this Publication

This book provides overview of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) within the context of “third-wave” state economic development policy; by which policy is marked by emphasis on strategies such as public-private partnerships, establishing regional networks, developing industrial clusters, and increasing human capital.

It puts forth approaches to developing effective national and regional industrial competitiveness strategies. Research finds characteristics of best practices are to: (1) build constituency and leadership; (2) map local economies, including linkages among firms, and target sectors; (3) identify and coordinate resources and services; (4) involve SMEs; (5) build scale; and (6) establish procedures for accountability. Conclusion finds that in order to achieve scale, modernization must be debated and discussed as an economic development policy, with accountability procedures in mind.

Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group
Latest From Aspen CSG
outdoor rec report page cover
Mapping a New Terrain: Call to Action

As new rural outdoor recreation economies take root, we can meet this moment by improving how we do outdoor recreation development to better support rural families, businesses, and workers, create more sustainable and equitable economic systems, and improve local health and wellbeing.

Wealth Creation in Rural and Indigenous Places

Sep. 19th, 2023, 2PM

Learn how rural practitioners are advancing equitable prosperity and economic development in a way that embraces and strengthens the unique assets of rural regions.

WealthWorks: A Powerful Tool for Thriving Rural Places

WealthWorks is an approach to doing economic development differently that inspired and continues to inform the Thrive Rural Framework. Learn more about the WealthWorks approach.

Broadband technician working
Broadband Resources

A collection of broadband resources for funding, advocacy, and community program opportunities for rural community leaders.

collaborating partners
How To Organize a Rural Action Infrastructure

Discussion with rural leaders on the opportunity equitable outdoor recreation economies pose to rural areas.

Queer youth in celebratory gathering
Rural and Native Celebrations of the LGBTQ+ Community

A collection of rural, queer organizations and stories about rural communities and Native nations celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Explore these moments to learn more about how queer people are celebrated in rural spaces. 

Brookings logo
Rural Policy Resources

A collection of resources provided by the Brookings Institution emerging from their rural research.