The Fourth annual Iowa Rural Summit, to be held virtually Aug. 20 and 21, will include wide-ranging discussions of small business efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic that demonstrate perseverance, flexibility and community pride.
Sessions begin at 1 p.m. Aug. 20 and then resume at 8 a.m. Aug. 21. The two days will feature keynote speeches, roundtable discussions and topical break-out sessions. The 2020 summit will be virtual, allowing attendees to experience the presentations from their own laptop, computer or other digital device.
A panel discussion on how small businesses are coping with COVID-19’s effects on the rural economy starts at 8:15 a.m. Aug. 21. It will bring together business owners Bonnie Ramsey of Ramsey Grocery in Lenox; Sarah Winkelman of S&B Farms Distillery of Bancroft; and Brandon Rodriquez, vice president of Brownmed in Spirit Lake. Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corp. CEO Kiley Miller will facilitate the session.
Learn how businesses are surviving
“We’ve seen businesses in small towns pivot in the face of this pandemic,” says Sandy Ehrig, Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) chair. “They are finding ways to survive the economic downturn and make the best of this adverse situation.”
IRDC, a statewide public-private nonprofit focused on rural vitality, hosts the annual summit. “This virtual rural summit gives us an opportunity to share best practices — and perhaps the most impactful at this moment has to do with how local businesses are responding to the pandemic,” Ehrig adds. “This panel will tell amazing stories of innovation.”
“While individual registration for the summit is $50, communities can have a team of up to five people register for only $150,” says Bill Menner, IRDC executive director. “The summit will stretch over two half-days and feature keynote speakers, plenary roundtables and targeted breakout sessions.”
Bringing together community leaders
The Iowa Rural Summit has been held annually since 2016. It brings together community leaders, resource and service providers to share best practices, new ideas and opportunities for collaboration. Last year’s in-person summit attracted almost 400 people from across Iowa.
Communities can guarantee their participation by visiting the eventbrite.com ticket webpage. Individuals can register at the eventbrite.com registration webpage. For more information, contact Menner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IRDC Summit sponsors include Iowa Farm Bureau/Renew Rural Iowa, ITC Midwest, Lincoln Savings Bank; Aureon; Iowa Area Development Group; Bolton & Menk; Iowa Community Colleges; Iowa American Water; Russell Construction; Alchemy Community Transformations; Community Heart & Soul; Delta Dental; Iowa Housing Partnership; and Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative. For more information visit the IRDC website iowardc.org/summit.