In 2023, Radically Rural’s parent organization, Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship (HGC), participated in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC). GAFC funding is intended to build strategic partnerships that support the launch, growth, and scale of STEM/R&D-focused small businesses.
After winning $50,000 in Stage One funding, HGC began recruiting partner entrepreneur support organizations to engage in rural biotech work. In September, HGC won $150,000 in Stage Two funding, allowing the organization to continue its efforts to foster and facilitate a thriving rural national ecosystem that advances equitable investment in innovative high-growth small businesses, particularly in the biotech sector.
History of HGC Biotech Programming
HGC began building out a business incubator for biotech entrepreneurs in 2017 and recruited its first participant in 2022. This program was inspired by HGC’s commitment to shift the narrative of rural from extractive to generative, the same commitment that inspired the first Radically Rural summit. According to Mary Ann Kristiansen, executive director of HGC and co-founder of Radically Rural, “Prevailing culture, not facts, have kept biotech companies from exploring the advantages of rural communities. The Radically Rural biotech network can be at the forefront of overcoming that cultural norm and establishing a more geographically dispersed and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for the U.S. biotech sector.”
What is Radically Rural biotech (RRb)?
RRb is a national rural biotech network formed to create a more geographically dispersed and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for the biotech sector by leveraging local assets, resources, and expertise through partnerships. The network’s founding partners have set out to demonstrate how rural communities can be a vibrant part of the U.S. biotech landscape. In addition to HGC, the founding partners include New Mexico Bioscience Authority, Ohio University Innovation Center, Dirigo Labs – Central Maine Growth Council, and KY Inventors. Each organization offers a range of experience working in rural communities and supporting STEM focused rural businesses.
Join Radically Rural biotech!
In 2024, the network will expand to include other entrepreneur support organizations as partners and other key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem as affiliates. The goals of this network are to increase the pipeline for and success of rural biotech entrepreneurs, strengthen the national innovation ecosystem, and expand participation by underserved entrepreneurs in the biotech sector. If you are interested in joining the network or know others that might be, let us know!