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Abstract

Many rural communities are adopting entrepreneurship and small business development services as components of their economic development programs. As rural communities face declining tax bases (due to out-migration) and recession-related fiscal stress, knowing which of these programs best utilizes scarce funds is critical. A partial answer to this question comes by understanding which services small business owners utilize and which contributed to their success. Using data collected from a random sample of 1,200 Oklahoma households via a telephone survey, we identify which locally provided services (mentoring, small business management training, locally-provided funds – including state and federal subsidized loans, incubator) small business owners in Oklahoma used, and we assess the correlation between the use of services and the business owners’ perceived success across three measures: overall business success, employment growth, and financial success.

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