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Examination of Small Business Owners in Rural Pennsylvania

Posted: October 29, 2010

Small businesses employ nearly all of the working population in Pennsylvania’s rural communities and play a crucial role in fostering community development and infusing rural areas with entrepreneurial opportunities. A report prepared for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania entitled Examination of Small Business Owners in Rural Pennsylvania studies the demographics of small business owners and their use of public programs that assist in business operations.

Small businesses employ nearly all of the working population in Pennsylvania’s rural communities and play a crucial role in fostering community development and infusing rural areas with entrepreneurial opportunities. A report prepared for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania entitled Examination of Small Business Owners in Rural Pennsylvania studies the demographics of small business owners and their use of public programs that assist in business operations.

Upon analyzing responses from small business owners the report concluded that the majority of businesses correlated to the owner’s previous work experience. Also, the number of employees averaged 11 people per business.  In addition, the research found small businesses receive most of their revenue from within the commonwealth.

Amongst small business owners there was little knowledge of services available to assist them in running their business.  Of the business that sought support from service providers, marketing, human resource development, and financial assistance were among the most widely used. 

The report concluded with policy considerations to better inform and make available services to small business owners.  Suggestions included Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to help transition businesses from one owner to the next in addition to programs specialized towards fostering entrepreneurial development through education and financial assistance as well as provide infrastructure support.

The report can be read in its entirety on the Center for Rural Pennsylvania website. 

 

Prepared by Addison Weinstein, research assistant to Dr. Theodore Alter