E-Community Success Stories

Our success stories are listed in alphabetical order by state. You'll find testimonials, video, downloadable resources and more!


alt.Consulting has launched a Communities of Innovation initiative in the Arkansas Delta, driven by the need “to do more and generate deeper impact, faster.” The Center is excited to be partnering with alt, sharing assessment and other tools. Read more about this great work in an excerpt from their annual report. To download the entire report, click here.


Sahuarita, Arizona is a booming community located on Interstate 19 between Tucson and Nogales, Mexico. Sahuarita was a sleepy, small town that evolved into one of the fastest growing suburban areas in America. Growing Local Economies and the Center teamed up to help Sahuarita and the University of Arizona discover entrepreneurial talent and craft a development game plan based on this talent.

In this video, Christine Hamilton-Pennell, an information specialist, teamed up with the Center for projects in Montana, Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin because of the Center's experience in economic development.


Pottawattamie County is home to Council Bluffs on the western edge of Iowa. Council Bluffs is part of the Omaha Metropolitan County, but much of Pottawattamie County is rural - populated by farms, acreages and small villages. In working with the Western Iowa Development Association, Iowa Western Community College and the Iowa West Foundation, the Center is experiencing success with business coaching. Check out our performance report on this innovative initiative and a great story of entrepreneur David Jacobson. 


What comes to mind when you hear the word “Kansas”? Wheat fields… tornados…The Wizard of Oz…Kansas City barbecue? The Center's new case study shows that Kansas has another side: innovator of entrepreneurial development. For more than a decade, a committed group of business, social and civic entrepreneurs has been collaborating to advance entrepreneur-focused economic developmwent and to create entrepreneurial communities. The Center has been an active partner, both contributing to and learning from this collaboration. As the case study demonstrates, these efforts are achieving economic development impacts: businesses started, jobs created and saved, private investments made. More and more economic developers are focused on growing their own. Communities are embracing entrepreneurs and seeing hope for the future in supporting these economic development engines. Creating entrepreneurial communities in Kansas has been an evolutionary process, one of listening, learning and adapting over time. We wrote this case study to document the context, describe the evolution, offer some perspective from the communities engaged and share lessons learned so that it might inform your entrepreneurial development efforts.

Download case study HERE

The Entrepreneurship Community Partnership with E-Accelerator is one of America’s most productive entrepreneur development systems in the United States. The Center is a partner in this Kansas initiative. Check out the Rawlins County story in Search for Solutions, The Future of Rural Kansas for a great community turn-around story.

Also, be sure to check out this video of Steve Radley with Network Kansas talking about the Center's E2 impact on Kansas.


Missoula is a small metropolitan area located in the western mountains of Montana. The Center and Growing Local Economies worked with the BitterRoot Economic Development District focusing on emerging entrepreneurial clusters in the post Great Recession climate. Despite the housing crash, the seeds for renewed economic prosperity in this region of Montana were identified through this work. Check it out in the assessment and strategy reports for Missoula.  

Don Macke, leader of the Entrepreneurial Communites solution area, presented to leaders in Montana in 2012 at Montana State University. Montana's local station, KTVM 6, captured the story during his stay.


After 15 years, O’Neill, Nebraska’s commitment to entrepreneurship, youth engagement, leadership development and community philanthropy is paying off! Working with the Center, the Nebraska Community Foundation and Heartland Center for Leadership Development, this community is seeing the results as young families move to town, start businesses and put down roots. Read more here.


After working with Texas in the early 2000's, the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship helped Texas rural leaders Greg Clary and Quincy Ellis jumpstart the Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Now, the two organizations are partners. Learn about the history and partnership of Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.


Fond du Lac, Wisconsin is located between Milwaukee and Green Bay. This community of 100,000 is in the heart of manufacturing country which was hard hit by the Great Recession. Fond du Lac is home to Mercury Marine Corporation and hundreds of small and mid-sized supply chain companies. The Center and Growing Local Economies worked with the Fond du Lac Economic Development Corporation to prepare an opportunity assessment and strategy for the EDC’s next generation entrepreneurship game plan.