Kandiyohi County was a recipient of Get Broadband funding through Blandin Foundation. The funds were intended to bolster broadband use in the community. As part of the program, small businesses were invited to classes on online marketing and web site development and were eligible for up to $500 in matching grant funds to create or improve their web sites.
Well Becky LaPlant at Blandin passed on some terrific news from Kandiyohi County – the program was so successful that the Willmar Economic Development Commission is offering a second ground of grants and more classes.
It’s great when a grant-funded program is so successful that it carries on even after the original funding is gone. It’s also an indication of the importance of an online presence. Steve Renquist, the EDC executive director was quoted, “The mission of the Economic Development Commission is to be a catalyst for economic growth of the greater Kandiyohi County area. This program supports that mission by offering businesses another tool to grow their business and expand into new markets with their goods and services, thereby increasing their business success.”
You don’t need to have broadband to have a web site. But it is a sign of the times when a web site is so important to a business. It wasn’t that long ago when I was kind of impressed when a small, local business had a web site – now I’m surprised (sometimes annoyed) when a shop doesn’t have some kind of presence.