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Does Geography Determine Destiny? The Inequality of Opportunity Across The Heartland

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Heartland by the Numbers

Click the dots to see what we’ve said about America’s small towns (micros) and cities (metros)

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Closest Z-Score Rankings


Heartland Summit

The mission of the Heartland Summit is to showcase the exciting innovation happening between the coasts, spark frank conversations about the challenges the region is facing, and build networks to sustain economic growth and power problem solving across the country.

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Heartland Forward welcomes Blake Woolsey as chief communications and development officer

In this role, she will lead Heartland Forward's communications efforts and network management, working closely alongside CEO Ross DeVol.

2 Minute Read

Exclusive: How the high-tech economy is expanding

"Knowledge-intensive young firms have a higher probability of achieving middle-market status where they can generate rapid job gains for their communities," per Heartland Forward.

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Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall as Enhanced Benefit Ends

Dave Shideler and Jonas Crews
After two consecutive weeks of increases in initial unemployment claims, claims fell by 249,000 to 1,186,000, the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

3 Minute Read

Did Black- and Hispanic-Owned Businesses Receive Their Fair Share of PPP Loans?

Dave Shideler and Jonas Crews
The vast majority of Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses in the Heartland do not have employees, and that may have resulted in the two groups receiving inequitable shares of Payroll Protection Program loans.

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Heartland Forward CEO discusses Does Geography Determine Destiny with TB&P Paul Gatling

Declining economic mobility for low-income households is a well-documented phenomenon with roots in overall rising inequality. But with this report, we take the conversation a step further, focusing on the Heartland region and exploring the factors behind economic opportunity.

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Pandemic Relief Priorities for Black Communities

By LaShonda Brenson PHD, Jessica Fulton, and Spencer Overton
An article by: The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank

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Unemployment Insurance Claims Back Up GDP Decline

Dave Shideler and Jonas Crews
The week ending July 25, 2020, was the 19th week during which over 1 million initial claims were filed.

5 Minute Read

The key to recovery

Recent research from think tank Heartland Forward draws a clear link between strong entrepreneurial ecosystems and economic success. Cities with a higher share of employment at young firms, and particularly where employees at those young firms have a bachelor’s degree or higher, saw notably faster employment growth over the past decade.

2 Minute Read

The Economist - The urban prairie

A report in May by Heartland Forward, a think-tank of the Walton family (who own Walmart), laments that old, big companies do well in the region, but young firms rarely flourish. That is especially true in places that fail to encourage research and innovation.

10 Minute Read

The Key to Recovery

Page 4 - Recent research from think tank Heartland Forward draws a clear link between strong entrepreneurial ecosystems and economic success.

3 Minute Read

Arizonans set record for expanded jobless benefit claims as program's expiration looms

That new claims for Arizona jobless benefits have mostly leveled out in recent weeks might indicate Arizona's tourism sector hasn't been hit as hard as those of many other states, said David Shideler, chief research officer at Heartland Forward, which tracks economic activity in middle America.

5 Minute Read

Heartland Forward Senior Fellows, Florida and Kotkin share their expertise with WSJ

Winning Streak of Big Cities Fades With 2020 Crises
Coronavirus, anger over policing and strained budgets pack triple punch in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Boston, but don’t count cities out, urban experts say

8 Minute Read

Young firms can accelerate economic growth post COVID-19

Young firms born out of entrepreneurship today are our country's large employers tomorrow. Moreover, new Heartland Forward analysis draws a clear link between strong entrepreneurial ecosystems and economic success.

5 Minute Read

Two Midwestern cities. Two local billionaires (Koch and Buffett). Which one can boost prosperity?

Millennials are also looking for places that have invested in public infrastructure like parks, and recreational and cultural activities. And they’re interested in jobs with a future.

Omaha is a rising star in the race for a new generation of entrepreneurs, according to Ross DeVol, who runs Heartland Forward, an institute focused on economic renewal in the Midwest.

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Webinar: Venture Capital Trends, Recent Data, and What it Means for Colorado's Startups How Entrepreneurs can Power Economic Recovery

On behalf of Innosphere Ventures and Heartland Forward, you are invited to join us for a webinar as we discuss two new reports on venture capital, dig into the data behind recent VC trends, and talk about how startups and entrepreneurs can power the economic recovery.

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We're excited to join the third RuralRISE Summit

Heartland Forward President & CEO Ross DeVol will discuss the insights and issues facing America's rural communities. He'll also dive into the importance of data for rural entrepreneurship ecosystem builders.


Heartland Forward expands "do" mission with new investments in programming

Angie Cooper will lead Heartland Forward’s programming as its chief program officer

2 Minute Read

Entrepreneurs are key to Tennessee's economic recovery | Opinion

Ross DeVol, Guest columnist
Recent research from think tank Heartland Forward found that cities with strong entrepreneurial ecosystems see notably faster employment growth.

4 Minute Read

Twenty Top Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Across America

Heartland Forward, identified 20 top entrepreneurial ecosystems across America based on the share of employment by small firms, and the number of college-educated employees in those firms.

3 Minute Read

Heartland Forward expands research efforts with addition of new fellow

Yee-Lin Lai, specialist in entrepreneurial development, joins the “think and do” tank as a fellow

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Heartland Forward welcomes new Summer intern

Browning will dedicate time to supporting the innovation and entrepreneurship program

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A 10-Point Plan to Reopening with Richard Florida

Richard Florida, Heartland Forward Senior Fellow, University of Toronto Professor, and NYU Fellow, discusses his co-authored 10-point plan on how cities can prepare for the future.

20 Minute Video

Young firms and the entrepreneurial ecosystems that spawned and nurtured them

Jonas Crews, Ross DeVol, Richard Florida and Dave Shideler

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COVID-19 Consequences for Manufacturing

Manufacturing faces increased job losses due to COVID-19, but this presents the industry an opportunity to re-evaluate supply chains, introduce new products, and innovate – to leverage the Heartland’s resources and build resilient economies.

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Panelist Ross DeVol and others provide insight into the COVID-19 Heartland aftermath.

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In a conversation with Heartland Summit Executive Director, Angie Cooper

New Research Finds Increasing Millennial Migration And Economic Opportunity In The Heartland

Heartland Forward Senior Fellow Joel Kotkin and his contributors address a fundamental topic for future economic success in the Heartland

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