Innovation is widely recognized as a key driver of economic growth, but innovation is now mainly measured by patent statistics and seen as reflecting earlier investments in formal innovation systems that produce new products an new technologies. A consequence of this approach to describing the innovation process is that there is little role for entrepreneurs and in particular little chance of innovation taking place in rural regions. Yet prior to the 20th century most innovation came from individual entrepreneurs and many innovations originated in rural regions. In particular one form of innovation - user-innovation, where individuals or single firms when confronted with a significant problem that has no acceptable existing solution create their own innovation, is particularly relevant to rural regions. While most rural innovations serve local or niche markets there are examples of major rural innovations that have had disruptive national or global impacts. Preliminary results from the new USDA Rural Establishment Innovation Survey confirm that user innovation is an important aspect of many rural entrepreneurs and an important aspect of firm competiveness.