The National e-Commerce Extension Initiative
eNews: The National e-Commerce Extension Initiative

Educational Resource Grant Opportunities for 2011

The Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), in partnership with NIFA/USDA and the Regional Rural Development Centers, continues to offer funding for its National e-Commerce Extension Initiative competitive grants program. Applications are due Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Download the full RFP.

We want to congratulate the following recipients:

Dr. Carol Centrallo from Auburn University received funds to implement the curricula "Electronic Retailing: Selling on the Internet," targeting small businesses in Alabama's Black Belt.

Judy Chambers, from Pennsylvania State University Extension Service, received funds to implement the "Connecting Communities" curricula in an effort to launch a broadband initiative in Adams County, Penn.

Debra Kantor, Extension Educator from the University of Maine, received funds to implement her educational resource project, "Connecting Kids to e-Commerce."

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Related Information

Virtual Stroke Care Could Save Lives

Telemedicine helps rural hospitals use drugs to prevent death and disability from strokes. A new study found telemedicine for stroke, also known as 'telestroke', appears to be cost-effective for rural hospitals that don't have an around-the-clock neurologist on staff. Read more..

Small Community Gets Big Broadband

A case study mentioned in an article "Small Community Gets Big Broadband" that appeared in the Western Rural Development Center's September 2011 Rural Connections showcases how a small rural community was able to secure broadband access for its residents. The community was successful in part by establishing a telecommunications committee that focused on three main areas: 1) increased awareness about the relevance of broadband; 2) expanded access to high speed internet; and 3) community education to increase broadband adoption or use. Read more..

Broadband Sustains Economic Development

This video from the Wisconsin Broadband YouTube channel showcases the importance of broadband and economic development in a rural area of the state. Three Lakes relies heavily on tourism, but during the winter months, businesses struggle and having access to broadband is critical. Click here to see the video.

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SRDC e-Commerce Grant Recipients: In Their Own Words

Perkins, Okla., is one of those communities that is almost always ready to try something new. When in June 2009, Payne County Extension Educator Suzette Barta and Extension Specialist Brian Whitacre announced a meeting would be held to discuss the use of the Internet to improve the community, the response from the community was positive. Participants at the meeting included the city's mayor, a local banker, the owner of a local internet service provider, the senior citizens center director and the school superintendent.

By August of the same year, the Perkins Connecting Rural Communities team had developed and disseminated a survey measuring “internet usage” among both commercial enterprises and residents. Based on survey results, the team needed to come up with a project idea and decided to create a portal community website – a site that would reflect (and provide links to) all components of the community.

The biggest challenge identified by the team for the portal website was the issue of who would take responsibility for the site. To address this, the team developed a proposal to take to the Perkins Chamber of Commerce, which approved a new webmaster position on the Chamber board and Chamber funding for the project.

As it turned out, the costs of the site were minimal. The local ISP provided free web hosting. A student at the area technology center designed the site, and a web design instructor from the technology center trained two individuals from the Perkins Chamber to manage the site. Thus the site,, was launched in June 2010—exactly one year after the first Connecting Rural Communities meeting was held in Perkins.

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Topics of Interest


eXtension Entrepreneurship Webinar Series

Food Safety for Farmers Market Vendors
April 11, 2013
Londa Nwadike, University of Vermont Extension Food Safety Specialist

Tracking Sales to Learn What Customers Really Think
May 9, 2013
Mary Peabody, UVM Extension

Are you a Supermarket Vendor or a Super Market Vendor?
June 13, 2013
Ginger Myers, UMD Extension Marketing Specialist

All webinars will air monthly on the second Thursday at 2 p.m. (ET); 1p.m. (CT); noon (MT); 11a.m. (PT). No pre-registration is required and there is no fee to participate. About 10 minutes prior to the start time simply go the Adobe Connect Pro meeting room at . You will be presented with a login screen that has an "Enter as Guest" option. Enter your full name then click "Enter Room" to join the conference. You will be able to hear the audio directly from your computer’s speakers.

For more information and archives on the Webinar Series, please visit our Webinar page.