Revitalizing Main Street America Through Small Business Stories: A Conversation with Matt Wagner, Ph.D In this episode, host David Ponraj speaks with Matt Wagner, Ph.D, Chief Program Officer at National Main Street Center, about the vital role small businesses play in communities across America. They discuss how local businesses are the heart and soul of Main Street, serving as hubs for social connection and economic growth. Matt also speaks about his new podcast, Main Street Business Insights, and its inspiration to uplift the stories of small business owners who invest in their neighborhoods and towns, providing a platform for peers to learn from each other and highlight the convergence of social and economic impact. Matt was a previous guest on Breaking Down Barriers in 2021. Check out that episode here: About Main Street Business Insights podcast Each week, join host Matt Wagner, Ph.D., as he travels the country and takes a deep dive into the personal journeys of downtown and neighborhood entrepreneurs. The stories that far too often go unheard. Learn about the innovative ways that these Main Street businesses have overcome adversity, whether it’s starting a new enterprise or keeping a multi-generation business alive, and the advice they have for others on how to keep their businesses on track. Available where you get your podcasts. Subscribe today and get inspired, get informed, and get in motion. Learn more and listen here: About National Main Street Center Main Street was established as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 as a way to address the myriad issues facing older and historic downtowns during that time. Working with a nationwide network of coordinating programs and local communities, Main Street has helped over 2,000 communities across the country bring economic vitality back downtown, while celebrating their historic character, and bringing communities together. An exciting new chapter for the organization began on July 1, 2013, when the Main Street program launched as an independent subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This transition enables Main Street to build on its three-decade record of success, with new leadership and new resources that will help communities respond to evolving needs and opportunities in the commercial district revitalization field. In 2015, the Center launched a new program brand for the network of Main Street programs—Main Street America™—to reinvigorate our collective look, feel, and strategy to position Main Street as a leader locally, regionally, and nationally. Main Street America is based in Chicago, Illinois, with an office in Washington, DC, and field staff located throughout the country.

About Breaking Down Barriers
This podcast explores the opportunity to build wealth in local, regional, and national economies through entrepreneurship-led economic development. Episodes feature changemakers with innovative approaches to empowering people to start businesses that create wealth for their families and improve outcomes for their communities. Conversations highlight work being done in communities across the U.S. to break down barriers to entrepreneurial opportunity in underserved and underrepresented communities. In this series, we share authentic stories about the impact that entrepreneurship-led economic development has on the local economy and connect a global network of passionate economic developers. 

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Breaking Down Barriers is a presentation of Economic Impact Catalyst and is hosted by David Ponraj with production and editing by Jacqui Dietrich and Lauren Bernard with voice talent by Antoine Long. Please rate, review, and subscribe to Breaking Down Barriers, available for free wherever you listen to your podcasts!

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