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The purpose of this grant is to provide funding to East Carolina University for its RISE-29 (Rural Innovations Strengthening Eastern 29 Counties) program. RISE-29 is expected to catalyze regional entrepreneurial activity in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, and Pitt counties through workforce and business development expertise provided primarily through the Miller School of Entrepreneurship at ECU. In the near-term, RISE-29 proposes to help expand “high-value proposition firms” creating 150 new direct jobs, and in the mid-term, promote an influx of talent and new enterprises to rural communities to combat population decline and talent migration to urban areas through a newly launched regional microenterprise program that is expected to yield 25 microenterprises and 100 new direct jobs. Golden LEAF funds will be used for program staff, ECU faculty mentors, and interns (including compensation, housing, and travel).