Are there good UK examples of rural communities (including market towns) that have successfully developed international trading communities?

Here’s a chance for LEP’s, Local Authorities, Digital Leaders and Rural Enterprise Champions to shine. 

A major focus in June at the 2015 Global Summit of the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) will be on ‘The International Rural Community’. The ICF global summit (in Toronto) is a 5-day meeting of mayors, civic leaders, economic and community developers from around the world.

In 2013 Marit Hendriks and I contributed a paper on Open Data. In 2014 we spoke on the challenges of rural economic development. Engaging with the ICF delegates hugely informed our thinking – and led directly to our paper on Municipal Enterprise (Nov 2014).

This year we have been invited to explore how ‘small-to-midsize cities in the more rural parts of the UK have successfully built international trading economies’.

From our work with the Digital Challenge and the NextGen series of conferences, we already have some examples to build on – but you may know of other great stories waiting to be ‘discovered’. 

How has your local economy exploited new digital capabilities to create growth?
(Think of Mansfield’s use of crowd-funding to build free town-centre WiFi).

What international market niches have been discovered? 
(Think of global networks for crafts, like the global wool business in Penzance supplying specialist yarns to distant knitters, or, makers of premium foods selling to high-end overseas outlets) 

What new employment and enterprise opportunities have emerged?
(Think of sharing economy networks that provide new tourism choices, or new high-tech manufacturing enterprises that do not need expensive locations, or global initiatives in the art and culture fields)

How has your local economy exploited the natural advantages of rural living & working? 
(Think of reduced travel costs, lower production costs, easier global market access, and brand differentiation.)

And what of the challenges? 
(Think of Skills, Digital Infrastructure, Funding, local retention of young people, and global trade support practice)

This is your chance for your community and export eco-system to be represented on a global stage. Please respond to with subject line: 2015 ICF Rural 



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