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Iowa State University Extension

E-commerce attracts entrepreneurs, small business owners

Jane Nolan Goeken

When you offer access to e-commerce, rural Iowa entrepreneurs and small business owners will respond. In 2007 ISU Extension has been offering Access eCommerce workshops and 100 Iowans have come forward — to develop Web sites for their businesses, make better use of their existing Web sites or just learn more about doing business via the Internet. With a grant from the Community Vitality Center, Jane Nolan Goeken, an ISU Extension community development specialist, has taken the program on the road, offering hands-on instruction to small groups of business owners and entrepreneurs in seven rural Iowa communities.

“Access eCommerce is geared toward businesses with fewer than 50 employees,” Nolan Goeken said. “It’s a hands-on workshop in our traveling computer lab that we bring to the community, either as a one-day, six-hour program or a two-day program with two three-hour sessions, depending on local needs.”

The workshops attract a wide variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners. Businesses represented at a Hardin County Extension workshop included a bakery, travel agency, real estate broker, bridal and women’s formal wear store, candy maker, aviation service, chamber of commerce and agricultural commodity broker.

One participant reported, “The Access eCommerce workshop helped me critique the design of our Web site. Learning how to better market our Web site to our internal and external customers … is helping us set measurable goals for our business.”    

To learn more about Access eCommerce and the 2008 schedule, contact Nolan Goeken,

This article appeared in November 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter