SMIF invites small towns to engage in program for long-term economic growth

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Up to four Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) communities will be selected through a competitive process


Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is seeking applications for its Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) program which supports long-term economic growth. Up to four communities will be selected for this three-year program. Communities with populations of 10,000 or less in SMIF’s 20-county region are eligible to apply. 

The REV program helps rural communities create more vibrant economies by finding and supporting local entrepreneurs – from business startups to existing businesses that want to grow. Each community will develop a leadership team and be matched with a coach to guide them through goal setting and action steps. They will also participate in cohort learning with other REV communities.

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SMIF seeks communities which are actively supporting entrepreneurs through business financing and economic development staff. It is strongly preferred that up to two of the selected communities must have a vibrant local food/ag economy. 

“At SMIF, we have seen time and again how the REV program creates sustainable pathways for economic growth by supporting entrepreneurship,” said Pam Bishop, vice president of economic development at SMIF. “We look forward to supporting more small towns in this innovative way.” 

SMIF currently supports eight active REV communities. A variety of approaches to economic growth have been implemented in these towns, including business succession programs and youth retention initiatives. 

The REV model is based on the e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems framework which is hosted by NetWork Kansas. REV is made possible by support from Compeer Financial. 

SMIF invites all interested communities to submit a letter of interest by June 12, followed by an application which is due July 31. Selected REV communities will be announced in September 2023 and will begin work in January 2024. 

For more information on SMIF’s Rural Entrepreneurship Venture Program, and to apply, visit or contact Pam Bishop at pamb@smifoundation.