Monday, 30 June 2014


Will provincial Regional Economic Networks (RENs) work insularly, or think courageously and invite other areas of the province (and other RENs) to work together in their economic turnarounds? My experience tells me that's where our achilles heel might lie. 

Among the benefits REN claims, one is to "pool resources and combine talents to increase effectiveness, strengthen potential and improve outcomes".

Maybe rural counties need to think regionally to prosper, reports Josie Musico, in the case of rural west Texas that has seen a population decline over the past decades, and an out-migration of youth -- what I call next generation talent.

The Unites States Department of Agriculture's "Stronger Economies Together" (SET) program was set up to build rural economies. SET encourages people to think as regions rather than focusing on individual communities. Their website reads, "The purpose of SET is to strengthen the capacity of communities/counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of their region."

Let's hope Regional Economic Networks being set up in Nova Scotia helps rural economic development. The Ivany Report issues an economic and demographic clarion call to action, "most dramatically in our rural regions". REN has its work cut out for itself.

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