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CAIC in the Community: The 2023 Rural Summit

It’s been a very busy fall here at CAIC, with program kickoffs, farmers markets, curriculum  development for new programs, and much more keeping us occupied. We’ve also gotten the chance to connect with some of the phenomenal people and organizations that share our goal of empowering rural businesses and communities, including at this past month’s 2023 Rural Summit in Annapolis (which we were also proud to cosponsor). With a theme of “Pathways to Prosperity,” the Rural Maryland Council’s annual conference brought together more than 200 stakeholders from government, industry, and other sectors for a full day of networking, speeches, and panel discussions. 

Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks spoke at the summit

Like CAIC, the RMC is committed to advocating for Maryland’s rural communities, which can be found in 18 of the state’s 24 jurisdictions. Among other things, the organization hosts educational and community forums, provides grant funding, and works to connect rural residents and businesses with a variety of different resources.

At the 2023 Rural Summit, attendees heard from speakers including Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks; Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz; and Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman, who talked about some of the ways that her office is seeking to work with communities and businesses. There were also remarks from some of the members of Maryland’s congressional delegation: Sen. Chris Van Hollen shared some policy updates and highlighted the importance of supporting farmers, while Rep. David Trone, who noted that he grew up on a farm, discussed the need for additional resources to support rural mental health care.

Maryland State Comptroller Brooke Lierman

The conference’s keynote speaker was Becky McCray, an entrepreneur, cattle rancher, and small-town advocate from Oklahoma (where she currently resides in a town with just 30 residents). In her address, McCray shared stories about some of the different ways that small-town Americans across the country have successfully worked to improve their communities. She also challenged attendees to not only come up with their own community-development ideas, but to make plans to actually implement them. 

Keynote speaker Becky McCray

All in all, the 2023 Rural Summit was a fun and fulfilling experience for the CAIC team. (You can view more of the presentations on the RMC’s YouTube channel.) Be sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter to find out about other events that we’ll be attending! We’re always looking for new opportunities to connect with farmers and producers in the region, too, so please send us an email if you’d like to share an event with us. 

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MINI-GRANTs

Mini-Grants up to $5,000 are available for:
– Market Research and Validation of Target Market
– Customer Acquisition
– Product Development Initiatives
– Food Safety Classes
Eligibility
Value-added producers and companies with traction ($20,000 or more in yearly revenue) in Maryland and Delaware are eligible to apply for Mini-Grants. Participants may apply once for each of the categories. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a unique and differentiated product or service that incorporates an aspect of innovation or technology in its production, processing, distribution, or other element of the food supply system.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Award decisions will be made and funds will be available no later than three weeks following the receipt of a completed application.
Application Process
Applicants must submit Mini-Grant proposals by filling out the form at this link. Copy(ies) of quote(s), proposal(s), estimate(s), or any other supporting documents.

ACCESS TO SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS (SMES)

CAIC offers access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who can offer authoritative advice based on their deep knowledge and experience in a specific area. See the ADVISORS page of this Web site to learn more about the SMEs who are available to CAIC participants.

Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, October 20th; 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Course Description: This presentation discusses strategies for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) growth via marketing and sales. The presentation focuses on each company’s plans to diversify its revenue streams by using e-commerce, exporting, and overall customer acquisition tactics to support and enhance brand awareness.
Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: There are no prerequisites for this Virtual Presentation.
Criteria for Acceptance into the Virtual Presentation: Attendees need to have a product-based business; this is not suited for technology and/or app companies.