Role models for young rural entrepreneurs

When Deb and I were working on our Build Youth Entrepreneurship video, I saw way too many young entrepreneurship programs encouraging them to emulate business people I wouldn’t really want my niece or nephews to emulate. Shark Tanks. Pitch competitions. Billionaires as role models.

The real models for young rural entrepreneurs are the successful business people who started and grew in small towns.

  • Legends like L.L. Bean, started in Maine. Still in Maine with a global reach.
  • Pella Windows are from Iowa.
  • Jiffy Mixes in the blue boxes. Read more about them here.
  • Grasshopper Mowers from Kansas.
  • SEL Electrical Boxes from Washington State.
  • Tabasco Sauce from Avery Island, Louisiana.
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream from Waterbury, Vermont.
  • Viking Ranges from Mississippi.
  • J.M. Smucker & Co., Orrville, Ohio.
  • Dessin Fournir is a high-end furniture manufacturer based out of a small town in Kansas.
  • Ditch Witch trenching equipment from Perry, Oklahoma.
  • Beechworth Bakery in Australia staunchly holds onto their small town origin.
  • Home Hardware’s corporate headquarters are still in St. Jacobs, Ontario.

Take a look around your town and region for your local stories. There are so many small town successes that are a good fit for rural kids. Use them as role models.

Keep shaping the future of your town,

PS – Get your own copy of our Build Youth Entrepreneurship video for just $9.