May 3, 2023 - 8:29 am

Traverse City and 20Fathoms Host Rural Innovation Network Summit

By 20Fathoms

From May 1-3, leaders in rural innovation and entrepreneurship from around the country will gather in Traverse City for the 2023 Rural Innovation Network Summit. The Summit is organized by the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) and hosted by 20Fathoms.

The Rural Innovation Network is a nationwide community of change agents and local leaders working to advance the economic future of small-town America. 20Fathoms has been a member of the Network since 2019.  

“The Center on Rural Innovation is thrilled to have 20Fathoms as the host of the 2023 Rural Innovation Network Summit,” said Brēyana Ray, Director of the Rural Innovation Network at CORI. “Traverse City is an excellent example of a rural community that is successfully leveraging innovation and technology to drive economic growth and development. The region has a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and is home to many innovative businesses and organizations.”

Representatives from nearly 30 rural communities throughout the United States will gather at the Delamar Traverse City to attend the third annual summit, the purpose of which is to provide opportunities to discuss innovative ideas and solutions to address challenges facing rural communities. The Summit aims to facilitate collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and networking to promote economic development, tech job creation, and improved quality of life in rural areas. 

“By hosting the Rural Innovation Network Summit, we’re able to showcase Traverse City’s growing tech entrepreneurship community, while also learning best practices from other rural innovation leaders that we can apply locally to support the success of entrepreneurs and tech professionals,” said Eric Roberts, Executive Director of 20Fathoms. “CORI had several dozen communities to choose from to host this year’s event, and we’re honored that they selected Traverse City.”

By participating in a community of practice, attendees have the space to collaborate on best practices and new ideas, make connections and expand their network of national leaders who are also working to advance the economic mobility of their community through tech and entrepreneurship and finding solutions to problems unique to rural communities. “Traverse City is a perfect location for this year’s Rural Innovation Network Summit because it is a community that is not only known for its natural beauty and warm hospitality, but also offers a unique and inspiring setting and an entrepreneurial spirit to the summit,” said Brēyana. “This allows attendees to feel welcome and energized as they work together to identify potential solutions to the challenges facing rural America when it comes to building tech ecosystems.”

To kick off the Rural Innovation Summit, members of the 20Fathoms team gave a panel discussion about their successes and challenges growing tech entrepreneurship in Traverse City.
A break-out session at the 2023 Rural Innovation Summit
Gretchen Swanson, Director of Workforce Development at 20Fathoms, participates in a break-out session with peers from around the country during the Rural Innovation Summit.