The College of Business

Center for Rural Innovation


Our goal for the TCRI is to create companies and build economic development through manufacturing, health care, information technology, agriculture and tourism sectors to reduce poverty levels and increase prosperity throughout these rural regions.

Today, Tennessee is ranked first in the nation for advanced industry job growth, first in foreign direct investment, and second in the nation in the growth of household median incomes. Unfortunately, this unprecedented growth is concentrated in the state‚Äôs urban areas located in 17 counties and not shared by the remaining 78 rural counties, leaving many small, rural communities on the losing end of globalization and economic transition. The U.S. Economic Development Administration sponsored Tennessee Center for Rural Innovation (TCRI) is created to address this disparity.

The TCRI will spread the message of innovation and entrepreneurship and the tools needed for those rural residents to build their own businesses and explore creative options incorporating:

  • a traveling innovation bus (TRuE Bus)
  • pop-up innovation and business training modules
  • other entrepreneurial support
  • high-skilled workforce development
  • business expansion
  • economic development