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Recent work challenges the notion that attracting creative workers to a place is sufficient for generating local economic growth. In this article, we examine the problem of sustaining robust growth in the periphery of the USA, demonstrating the contingent nature of talent as an engine for economic growth. We test the hypothesis that rural growth in the knowledge economy is dependent on the ability to utilize new knowledge, perhaps generated elsewhere, in addressing local economic challenges. Tests confirm that the interaction of entrepreneurial context with the share of the workforce employed in the creative class is strongly associated with growth in the number of new establishments and employment, particularly in those rural counties endowed with attractive outdoor amenities.