BUILDING AND GROWING BUSINESSES (Winter 2019). The Clowes Fund supports organizations in some of the country’s most booming cities, but the Fund also makes grants in small cities and towns dotted across New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and western Massachusetts. The economic recovery of the past decade looks different in these communities than it does in Boston, Indianapolis or Seattle. As reported in the Washington Post in May 2016, “Americans in small towns and rural communities are dramatically less likely to start new businesses than they have been in the past, an unprecedented trend that jeopardizes the economic future of vast swaths of the country.”
The Hannah Grimes Center in Keene (population 23,400), New Hampshire, is acutely aware of the challenges of building and growing businesses in rural New England. The center, named for an 18th century resident and entrepreneur, is leading the charge to improve the business climate in the Monadnock region of southwestern New Hampshire. It operates a local-products marketplace, a 22-office business incubator, a beautiful co-working space in downtown Keene, hosts monthly pitch events at which local entrepreneurs connect with potential investors, offers business education classes and pairs mentors with those looking to expand their businesses. Furthermore, the Hannah Grimes Center is part of a larger conversation about maximizing talent and resources across rural America, and its first Radically Rural conference attracted more than 500 attendees from 21 states in 2018. The Clowes Fund is proud to help the Hannah Grimes Center lead the way to a stronger economy in northern New England.
In the image, John Kondos from the Monadnock Sustainability Network enjoys a conversation with other nonprofit leaders at Community After Hours, an annual networking event for nonprofit leaders, board members, sponsors, staff and volunteers.
Clowes Fund Field(s) of Interest: Workforce Development