Seminar explores grassroots entrepreneurship in rural communities

"Local Knowledge Systems for Grassroots Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Lessons from Rural Communities in Australia and the U.S." will be presented from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library on the University Park campus of Penn State. This seminar is the latest event in an ongoing speaker series sponsored by the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge and the Social Sciences Library. Presenter Michael Fortunato is a post-doctoral research associate and lecturer in the Center for Economic and Community Development at Penn State. 

Fortunato's research has focused on the cultural and economic differences between high and low entrepreneurship communities and the social strategies associated with community initiatives involving risk and uncertainty. In his seminar, Fortunato will compare rural United States and Australia and show how the entrepreneurial model of development has complicated local knowledge sharing and innovation. He will then suggest ways to foster a support system for innovation based on co-creation and indigenous knowledge and perspectives.

Fortunato notes, "What's the difference between an innovator and an entrepreneur? Is the difference based on where they live? The textbooks say that entrepreneurs take risks, create jobs and cause rapid economic growth. That's the Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship. But in rural areas that appear to be lagging behind economically, the indigenous knowledge of local entrepreneurs and innovators reveals an entrepreneurship that includes the community, rural lifestyles and personal self-expression."

This presentation is free and open to the public and can also be viewed online at

The presentation is part of an ongoing series highlighting the importance of indigenous knowledge and is sponsored by ICIK, the Interinstitutional Consortium on Indigenous Knowledge, and the Penn State Social Sciences Library. For more information on ICIK, go to

For questions about the physical access provided, contact Helen Sheehy,, in advance of your participation.

Last Updated January 09, 2015