School of Government Grants Community Revitalization Award to Rockingham County Business & Technology Center

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Participants in the School of Government’s recent Development Finance Toolbox course, led by faculty member Tyler Mulligan, received more than training in economic development finance. This year’s participants were invited to submit project proposals for a community revitalization award of 30 days of intensive project support from a team of graduate student fellows working with the School’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI).

Course participant Mark Wells, executive director of the Rockingham County Business & Technology Center (RCBTC), submitted a project that aims to establish a fund to assist entrepreneurial businesses in Rockingham County. The project had received an initial intent for funding from a local foundation, but the RCBTC team needed assistance in determining the most appropriate type of fund and developing a plan for implementation and management.

“Our team selected this project because it has the potential to have an almost immediate impact in the community, it fits with the experience and expertise of our community revitalization team, and is one that we can accomplish in a short time frame,” said Will Lambe, director of the School’s Community and Economic Development Program.

The School of Government’s five community revitalization fellows who will work with Rockingham County are UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students in the fields of business, city and regional planning, public administration, and public health. Under the supervision of School faculty and staff, the fellows will develop structure and organizational options for the Rockingham County Business & Technology Center’s fund, explore potential local and regional partnerships for the venture, and guide local decision makers toward implementation of the new fund in early 2013.

The School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative was established in 2011 to work with local governments in North Carolina to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise. DFI services support implementation of local community and economic development priorities that require private investment. To request assistance from DFI, contact its Director, Michael Lemanski.

Will Lambe authored the NC Rural Center report, Small Towns, Big Ideas, and he served as Director of the Community and Economic Development Program at the School of Government from 2009 to 2014.

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