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What Works in Rural Business Innovation and Economic Development Workshop

The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development is pleased to announce a new conference in its acclaimed What Works workshop series. Scheduled for May 15-17, 2017, the conference theme is Rural Business Innovation and Economic Development, and the event will be held in conjunction with the annual conferences of Create West Virginia and Universal Design Today, at the Civic Center in Charleston, WV. The rural innovation-focused triple-header conference seeks to answer the question, How do we (re)create buildings, communities, learning places, programs and products to better meet needs of 21st Century people?
Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

The call for presentation proposals has closed. Selected presentations will be announced in 2017. Thank you to those who have submitted a proposal!

As international competition and knowledge intensity in economic activity have increased, innovation in new products, services, and ways of doing business has emerged as a key driver of productivity and growth. Rural areas have proven to be places where such innovation can occur successfully, and there is great value in examining the role of place and local communities in increasing innovators’ chances for success. Our goal is to bring together practitioners, educators, scholars, policymakers and students to share new knowledge and insights about innovation, especially in rural areas.

Three presentations (invited) will report on new research that uses the USDA’s Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (REIS). This new and rich array of data on innovative practices and technologies allows researchers to address questions about the ways in which business innovation is happening in rural areas, and its dependence and impact on rural communities and regional economies.

The Universal Design: Live & Learn conference is a collaboration offered in partnership with Partnerships in Assistive Technologies (PATHS), West Virginia University CED, RL Mace Universal Design Institute, CAST Professional Learning, Create West Virginia, and the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development. In addition, West Virginia State University Extension is a co-sponsor. The expected registration fee is $150, and additional details about the conference will be provided in the near future.

For further information or to be added to an email distribution list for conference updates, please write to Kristen Devlin, with the subject line: WW UD conference Charleston.


* As defined by the National Endowment for the Arts, Universal Design goes beyond the mere provision of special features for various segments of the population. Instead it emphasizes a creative approach that is more inclusive, one that asks at the outset of the design process how a product, graphic communication, building, or landscape can be made both aesthetically pleasing and functional for the greatest number of users. Designs resulting from this approach are more likely to serve a wider array of people: individuals who have temporary disabilities, people with permanent disabilities, and everyone whose abilities change with age. More information about Universal Design is available here.