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It's a Wrap! 
Thank you Laurel, Mississippi!

See you in French Lick, Indiana July 30 - Aug 1, 2024

Join us for this dynamic Economic Development Summit designed specifically for Rural America. Regular Summit Registration Rate $399 thru 9/4/2023 Onsite Registration Rate $449 available 9/5/2023 Discounted Group Registration for Five $1,596
Sep 05, 3:00 PM – Sep 07, 12:00 PM
Laurel Little Theater,
408 N 5th Ave, Laurel, MS 39440, USA
JW Award Honorable Mention.png

2023 Stand Up Rural America Summit Trailblazers
SPEDA | See Somerset Tourism | Somerset Pulaski County CVB & Lake Cumberland 


You are invited to the
2023 Stand Up Rural
America Summit 



I’d like to personally invite you to this national Rural Economic Development event taking place September 5-7, 2023. Our exciting host city for our 2023 Summit is beautiful Laurel, Mississippi. The event will be held at the dynamic Laurel Little Theater and other special locations around the city. The 2023 Stand Up Rural America Summit will feature more than 16 nationally renowned subject matter experts and successful economic development practitioners. 


The rebirth of Laurel, Mississippi, is proof of what real people can do with a little creativity, a lot of commitment, and a deep well of love. But it didn't always seem that way. Once a thriving logging community and cultural hub, Laurel gradually fell into disrepair. By the 1990s, its downtown was mostly abandoned, with businesses shuttered and buildings crumbling. Then, in the last decade or so, a grassroots movement began. The residents of Laurel pulled together to transform the small town they called home. It's the perfect location for us to feel inspired, learn from each other and leave with an abundance of initiatives, strategies and the "can-do" spirit that makes Laurel, Mississippi so special.  

Topics to be covered include planning, leadership, entrepreneurship, downtown revitalization, rural tourism, innovative marketing, business retention & expansion, effective communications, rural retail development, diverse housing, talent development, best practices and much more. We will also be presenting the inaugural Jim Walton Impact Award and recognizing our 2023 Rural Trailblazer Team. 

Experience an event designed specifically for Rural America. You will receive tangible tools and strategies to help your cities, counties and regions grow. This event is packed with informative and dynamic panels, presentations, discussions, networking and celebrating what makes Rural America special. The Stand Up Rural America program has held highly successful events in Tulsa OK, Charleston WV, Somerset KY and Mulvane, KS while garnering high praise for the superior level of speakers, quality content and excellent networking opportunities.  

This Regional Forum is coordinated and hosted by ACCELERATION by design LLC. It has been my privilege to work with more than 300 rural communities and regions throughout my 30+ year economic development career. 

This Summit is perfect for Economic Development Organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Cities, Counties, Regional Groups, Utilities, Industry Leaders, Lenders, Workforce Development, ED & Chamber Board Members and anyone with a vested interest in the growth and prosperity of Rural America. 

Summit sponsorships are available and we will host an exciting exhibit area. Registration for the Summit is OPEN and we also offer a special group registration rate for five or more participants from one organization. We recognize your travel and budget challenges and want to do all we can to help you participate in the Summit.

Please know that the health and safety of our participants continues to be our priority and all necessary precautions and protocols will be aggressively administered at each venue and every session.

You won't want to miss this special event. Please join me September 5-7 in Laurel, Mississippi to celebrate Rural America! 

See you there! 

 Lorie  Vincent

Lorie Vincent, CEcD

Founder | President


Summit Speaker Team

Speaker Team
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2023 Summit Schedule

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

1:00 pm | 3:00 pm Registration & Networking
3:00 pm | 3:15 pm Welcome to the Summit 
3:15 pm | 4:15 pm Growing from Within | Laurel Entrepreneurs
4:15 pm | 4:30 pm Networking Break
4:30 pm | 5:30 pm Your 2024 Strategic Marketing Plan in 24 Minutes | David Petr | Marketing Alliance, Inc. 
5:30 pm | 6:00 pm Stroll to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art
6:00 pm | 7:30 pm Welcome Reception | Lauren Rogers Museum of Art 

Wednesday September 6, 2023

7:30 am | 8:30 am Registration & Networking 
8:30 am | 8:45 am Welcome to Laurel |
Mallorie Rasberry
8:45 am | 9:45 am Control the Controllables | Jake Thompson | Compete Every Day
9:45 am | 10:00 am Networking Break
10:00 am | 11:00 am Creating Memorability | Lorie Vincent | Acceleration by design LLC
11:00 am | 11:15 am Networking Break
11:15 am | 11:45 am A Gem Worth Saving | The Laurel Little Theater
11:45 am | 12:00 pm The Jim Walton Community Impact Award
12:00 pm | 1:15 pm Networking Luncheon
1:15 pm | 2:15 pm Building our Rural Workforce | Bryan Daniel | Chairman, Texas Workforce Commission
2:15 pm | 2:30 pm Networking Break
2:30 pm | 3:30 pm The Author's Corner | David Thornell, Small Town Solutions | Garry Clark, Unlikely Viking: From the D.C. Projects to Rural Nebraska | Lorie Vincent, Stand Up Rural America, Forging a New Future | Jake Thompson, Compete Every Day
3:30 pm | 4:15 pm The Downtown ComebackJim Raspberry, Mallorie Raspberry & Josh Nowell | Entrepreneurs, TV Personalities and Advocates of Downtown Revitalization 
4:15 pm | Enjoy Downtown Laurel 
7:00 pm  Party in the Park | Casual Food, Music & Networking | Scotsman General Store

Thursday, September 7, 2023

8:30 am | 8:45 am Welcome Remarks
8:45 am | 9:15 am Featured Documentary 
9:15 am | 10:15 am
2023 SURA Trailblazers | Collaboration Celebration | Chris Girdler, SPEDA, Leslie Ikerd, Somerset Tourism, Julie Harris, City of Somerset & SPEDA, Jessica Carlton, SPEDA and Michelle Allen, Lake Cumberland
10:15 am | 10:30 am Networking Break
10:30 am | 11:30 am The SURA Secret Sauce Panel |
Alysia Cook, Opportunity Strategies Brooklyn Leep, Lebanon/Marion County Economic Development | Chris Woolridge, Murray State University
11:30 am | 12:00 pm Closing Remarks and Announcements 

It's a Wrap!  

2023 Summit Sponsorships

Sponsorships for the 2023 Stand Up Rural America Summit are available for interested Vendors, Associations, State & Federal Agencies, Lenders, Utilities and supporters of Rural America. 


Sponsorship opportunities, offered at many levels, will help provide you with the perfect formula of exposure, promotion, advertising, branding and networking benefits to meet your budgets and your objectives. 

A summary of 2023 Summit Sponsorships available are: 

     Presenting Sponsor | $7,500

     Platinum Sponsor | $5,000

     Gold Sponsor | $3,000

     SOLD Hospitality Event Sponsor (exclusive) | $3,000

     SOLD Summit Journal Sponsor (exclusive) | $2,500

     SOLD Welcome Reception Sponsor (exclusive) | $1,500

     Official Summit Souvenir T-Shirt (exclusive) | $2,000

     Community Sponsor | $1,500

     SOLD Summit Attendee Bag Sponsor (exclusive) | $1,500

     Silver Sponsor/Exhibitor Package  | $1,250

    SOLD Refreshment Sponsor (exclusive) | $750

     SOLD Lanyard Sponsor (exclusive) | $750

     Bronze Sponsorship | $750

Click the button below for the 2023 Sponsorship Package, Exhibitor Details and Sponsorship Commitment Instructions. Please send all inquiries and forms to  Sponsorship payments are accepted online on the Registration page or by invoice upon request. All exclusive sponsorships are available until sold. Deadline for inclusion on all Summit printed materials and signage is August 18, 2023.

Thank You 2023 Summit Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

ACCELERATION by design LLC | Laurel Mercantile

Gold Sponsorships

City of Laurel | Sulphur Springs Economic Development Corporation

Community Sponsorships

Lindale Economic Development Corporation

Silver Sponsors

Day One Experts | Flyerview | Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative

National Rural Economic Development Corporation


Bronze Sponsors

Taylor Economic Development Corporation


Welcome Reception Sponsor

Big Lake Economic Development Corporation

Welcome Gift Sponsor

Sumner County Economic Development

Forum Bag Sponsor

Bowie Economic Development Corporation

Refreshment Sponsor

Kentucky's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives

Forum Lanyard Sponsor

Opportunity Strategies LLC

Housing & Travel Options

With a convenient host hotel AND more than 100 great AirBnb's and VRBO's available in Laurel, you will, for sure, be able to make your stay fun and unique. But with the interest in Laurel these days, securing a place to stay should be your first priority. Grab some friends, family or fellow team members and rent an awesome and unique home in Laurel, stay in a downtown loft, or if you prefer the hotel lifestyle, quickly grab a room at the Hampton Inn or one of the other multiple hotels within 30 minutes of Laurel. 



Summit Headquarters Hotel

Hampton Inn, Laurel, Mississippi

The Hampton Inn and Suites is located off I-59, five minutes from central Laurel. In town, you'll find the Laurel Little Theater, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art (the oldest in Mississippi), The Laurel Mercantile, The Scotsman, the Southern Antique Gift Mall, and the classic architecture of Main Street. An abundance of shops, restaurants and cultural centers await your visit. The hotel is 20 minutes from Hattiesburg Regional Airport, and just half an hour from central Hattiesburg. Wake up to free hot breakfast, and enjoy complimentary WiFi.

Click here for the link to the Hampton Inn & Suites Block

Hampton Inn & Suites

1509 Jefferson St

Laurel, MS 39440



Travel Options

Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport (PIB) | approximately 20 miles

Jackson-Medger Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) | approximately 75 miles

Mobile, AL Regional Airport (MOB)  | approximately 100 miles

New Orleans International Airport (MSY) | approximately 150 miles

Amtrak services Laurel, MS |

Travel Options
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