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Administered by the Department's Rural Economic Development Division, Rural Planning Program, CERRI will provide a structured planning process for communities to develop strategies for local economic recovery and offer technical services to assist with the implementation of each community's local strategies.
"As we turn the corner on the pandemic, we need to invest in North Carolinians across the state," said Governor Cooper. "This initiative will help our rural communities build back stronger."
"This new initiative will enhance the economic development efforts of small towns and rural communities by growing their capacity," said N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. "CERRI will not only help local governments more effectively support their existing small business community, but also provide a clear path for growing their local economy."
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Implementation and support services range from developing strategies that support small business recovery to community-level economic services that include local cluster analysis, commercial district regulation review, local infrastructure asset mapping, and small business expansion and recruitment.
"Rural communities will find tremendous support with the hard work of economic recovery through programs, like CERRI, as they work together to create strategies, build capacity, and assist with implementation," said Kenny Flowers, Assistant Secretary for N.C. Commerce's Rural Economic Development Division.
The first round of CERRI communities represent each of the state's eight Prosperity Zones and include:
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