What Does a Rural Region Need?

For its series on regional economic development, Building a Region, Handshake 2.0 – an enterprise of Handshake Media, Incorporated, a VT KnowledgeWorks member company - asked:

"To foster its regional economic development, what are the three most important traits a rural region needs to develop in order to have a chance at attracting a high-tech Global 1000 company – or two or three – to establish headquarters, a division, a product development laboratory, or a research facility in its locale?"

Joe W. Meredith, Ph.D., President of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Inc. Joe W. Meredith, Ph.D., President of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Inc., home of VT KnowledgeWorks, replied:

  1. A sufficient talent pool to meet the needs of a large company,
  2. a lower total cost of business than where they currently are,
  3. facilities that enable them to be more productive at a lower cost.

Regional economic development means simply that more people are better off today than yesterday.


VT KnowledgeWorks is a unique growth enhancement program open to entrepreneurs in the New River Valley of Virginia and beyond.  Acceleration center and incubation facilities are located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia

VT KnowledgeWorks sponsors include Attaain, Inc., BB&T, Handshake 2.0, Harris Office Furniture, Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Latimer, Mayberry & Matthews IP Law, LeClairRyan, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and The Becher Agency (TBA).


  1. I admire your work, evident over many years.
    It seems we need more than "Regional economic development (RED) means … that more people are better off today than yesterday."
    A person in the region wins the lottery. One more is better off. RED is working? How many more people?
    Significantly better off?
    "Better off" means what to most people in the region? To those already in a well-developed region?
    If yesterday was great, must we "develop"?
    Bounty hunters (for foxes, etc.) never kill all of the females that they capture. They sustain their business. Is "development" a sustained business/activity?
    Clarifying what we really want (RED) ought to be helpful in the work ahead.

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