U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) today held a committee hearing to examine the challenges and opportunities of running a rural small business and the economic landscape of rural areas in the United States.

Small business owner Jim Hobart, co-founder of Alpaca Direct, LLC, in Hayden testified about the challenges facing rural small business owners like himself. Hobart shared his challenges, which include access to competitive options for internet, noting that lack of much-needed improvements will keep him from being competitive, and affordable healthcare plans to provide for his valued employees. A bootstrapped enterprise, he shared, “Everything we’ve done, we’ve done it ourselves…that being said, sometimes it has been a struggle”.

Hobart shared that much of his success is due to Alpaca Direct’s success in marketing and selling their goods using digital and social media platforms, remarking “Entrepreneurs have realized the world is flat and you can run your business from where you want to live, not where you must live.” 

To watch the full hearing or read opening remarks of today’s hearing witnesses, click here.