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

Educational Resource Grant Opportunities – Recipients and Important Update

The National e-Commerce Advisory Committee funded two proposals submitted before the October 2011 deadline. Congratulations to these recipients!

Dr. Paul Lachapelle will implement both "A Beginner's Guide to e-Commerce: Easy Tools for Profit" and "Electronic Retailing: Selling on the Internet" in three remote Montana counties, and he estimates an impact in an additional seven counties. These three counties, through economic development strategic plans, have identified that integration of e-commerce and utilization of broadband will increase job creation and business retention.

Dr. Glenn Muske will implement the "Direct Marketing Food Specialty Products Online" curriculum to North Dakota food producers and other secondary audiences. North Dakota State University Extension and its network of county offices will market the workshop to these food producers in the state with the objective of increasing the number of food producers implementing one or more online marketing strategies.

In addition, we regret to inform you that during the recent Southern Rural Development Center Board of Directors meeting, a decision was made to stop funding e-commerce related mini-grants and educational resource development grants effective January 2012. This decision will not impact ongoing projects. The board decided to use the remaining e-commerce funds to evaluate the impact of the initiative overall and to categorize and update the existing curricula.

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Related Information and Resources

Building the Digital District

The Mooresville School District in North Carolina is now in its fourth year of its 1-to-1 laptop program, reaching all students in grades 3-12. Since the digital conversion began, the district has seen an improvement of 20 percentage points – from 68 percent to 88 percent – in the number of its students who scored "proficient" on all core-subject state exams. Read more.

New Reports Finds Broadband Adoptoin on the Rise

The U.S. Department of Commerce released this month a report analyzing broadband Internet adoption in the United States. Some of the main findings include an increase in broadband Internet use among households compared to 2010, with nearly three-quarters of households subscribing to broadband service. Even after accounting for socio-economic differences, certain minority and rural households still lag in broadband adoption. Read the full report.

FCC Announces Connect America Fund

The Federal Communications Commission recently announced the creation of the Connect America Fund to help make broadband available to seven million homes, businesses and community anchor institutions in areas that do not, or would not otherwise, have broadband. The Connect America Fund will put America on the path to universal broadband and advanced mobile coverage without increasing costs. Read more.

Find Lowest High-speed Internet Prices

A very useful link to compare high-speed Internet providers is available here. The website is independent from all Internet providers and mobile broadband providers and aims to give a guide to choosing the right service for your Internet needs at the lowest price.

Shuffstall Presents in Belgium

Bill Shuffstall, co-author of the e-Commerce "Connecting Communities" curriculum, was asked to deliver a presentation at the Global Forum in Brussels, Belgium, regarding filling the connectivity gap in rural communities. Congratulations to Bill! Read about the forum here.

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SRDC e-Commerce Grant Recipients: In Their Own Words

Submitted by: Dr. Abelardo Rodriguez, University of Idaho

Six products of the National E-Commerce Extension Initiative were promoted in Idaho this fall.

    • Guide for e-Commerce
    • Connecting Rural Communities
    • Basics on How to Create a Website–Easy Steps for Small Hispanic Businesses
    • On-Line Consumption Patterns
    • Helping Artisans to Reach Global Markets
    • Going Global: Guide to Expand Electronic Commerce

The Mexican Consulate in Boise organized a Business Day (Feria de Negocios) in the offices of the Idaho Labor Department, Caldwell, Oct. 29, 2011. Hispanic entrepreneurs got together with representatives of different government and non-governmental organizations to showcase educational products and services available to Hispanic entrepreneurs in both English and Spanish.

The Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, Microenterprise Training and Assistance, Small Business Administration and the Small Business Development Centers, H&R Block, and the University of Idaho Extension, among other organizations, participated in the event.

Most, if not all, participants in the Feria de Negocios were immigrants. Restaurateurs, graphic designers, communication specialists, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Ventilation (HACV) technicians, realtors, and retailers shared their successful entrepreneurial experiences. After five morning presentations, including one on National e-Commerce Extension Initiative (NEEI) products, a discussion panel elaborated on the experiences of successful Hispanic business people.

The participants agreed on the following:

    • A business plan is essential. It is important to formulate objectives, determine milestones, and not to cut corners.
    • Courage, enthusiasm, and patience are essential for success.
    • There is need for mentorship.
    • Some have benefited from having a website to advertise their services. As one restaurateur noted, "our catering service has prospered very well thanks to our website."
    • A good web design leads potential customers to a site that is near the top in the search engines.

Mujeres Unidas de Idaho and the University of Idaho Extension organized the workshop "E-Commerce and Online Tools for the Latina Entrepreneur" at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Nampa, Idaho, on Nov. 15, 2011. The workshop helped Latina entrepreneurs learn to better manage their small businesses. Some participants were technology savvy and could easily use online e-commerce educational products. Others reported they could benefit from accessing online products.

Participants appreciated the opportunity to establish direct contact with NEEI experts to answer questions regarding the online educational products. While many communicated in English, they appreciated the availability of bilingual mentors and online educational materials. The educational module "Going Global" attracted the attention of participants who have considered extending their businesses to Guatemala and Mexico, given that they already know what is available here and there, as well as the demand for products and services in these countries. Likewise, they praised the chart of business friendliness that provides information to consider business ventures in more than 170 countries for the Hispanic diaspora.

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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.