Many social scientists believe that supporting entrepreneurship development within low-income communities is a viable development strategy to combat poverty. Some even suggest that if economic development is to be effective, new businesses in low income areas must be started through local initiatives, and that entrepreneurship is critical to the maintenance of a healthy economy. Underpinned by recent scholarship and grassroots movements that suggest that presence of smaller scale, locally-controlled enterprises can help determine whether communities prosper or decline, this paper explores the links between entrepreneurship and rural development. Using a theory of change framework (Oldsman and Hallberg 2002), the authors examine the USDA 1890 Entrepreneurial Outreach Initiative (USDA 2004) and its use as a local, community-based strategy to spur economic growth and development in rural communities across the South.

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