July 15, 2019

By Caity Witucki
Contributing Editor, Main Street Monday

Main Street Monday — Digital Tools Grow the Annual Revenues of Rural Small Businesses by More Than $84.5 Billion Per Year

Research conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows that increased adoption of online tools and digital services could grow the annual revenues of rural small businesses by more than 21% and create more than 360,000 jobs in rural communities over the next three years.

“The opportunity to successfully start and grow a rural small business in our country is a great example of how technology is positively transforming nearly every aspect of our lives,” says Tim Day, senior vice president of C_TEC, the Chamber’s Technology Engagement Center. “Digital tools and technologies allow rural small businesses to compete in a global economy—regardless of their size or location—which is essential to a vibrant U.S. economy.”

According to the study, southern states would benefit the most from increased adoption of online tools and digital services, with rural businesses in West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia experiencing the largest revenue growth.

The survey outlines a number of recommendations to help unlock the unrealized economic potential of rural America, including:

• Expand rural business access to digital training and online tools so they can scale their business.
• Increase the talent pipeline of candidates trained in digital skills.
• Increase digital connectivity in rural areas.

Other key findings from the report include:

• One-in-five rural businesses are already digital.
• Technology is boosting rural business revenues.
• Online services help rural businesses reach customers out of state and overseas.
• Digital tools and technology help with purchasing and cutting costs.