Strut Your Stuff in Itasca County: Business get tech assessments, training, IT meetings and social media breakfasts!

This morning I was pleased to join the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) BBC group to hear about our the local broadband adoption programs went through the BBC (Blandin Broadband Communities) program. Spoiler alert – they went really well. And there’s plenty of good video to share so I’ll keep my notes brief.

They started by creating a Steering Committee comprised of a wide range of stakeholders. They talked about what was important– and the word sustainable came up with everyone and every project. They applied for funds, got them and did some brainstorming led by Bill Coleman. The ideas that came up at the meeting really were the germs of projects that fermented down the road. Below are notes and videos of those programs:

Technology Assessments with Local Businesses

They found ways to make emarketing opportunities sustainable.

Social Media Breakfasts

Social media breakfasts get 20-45 people each month – regardless of weather. We feature local speakers. It’s been great to get people in touch with each other. We try to keep it interactive. We’re building relationships with local businesses. We are all learning more about social media tools and we’re learning that it takes a lot of effort

Social Media & Online Marketing at Community Ed

Art Unlimited has been providing the training to more than 100 businesses. Their goal is to bring deeper level of understanding to attendees. And to help the business deploy recommendations from the Tech Assessments and become active members in the Social Media Breakfasts.

IT Professional Network

They wanted networking and education opportunities. Attendees find that the networking has been great. Smaller business is able to take advantage of expertise in larger businesses. And tech industry includes a lot of moving tech targets – so continual meeting makes sense! Also a great way for new comers to meet other IT folks in the area. The diversity of attendees has been helpful too.

Google Places

Interns visited with local businesses and helped them get on Google Places. They visited 122 businesses; many already had claimed their Google Places but they were able to help 15 businesses.

Community Portal

They creates a community portal to promote local businesses and attract tourists: They have had 36 blog posts. Launched in February: 13,000+ visitors. They are using Google Pay per Click ads to boost traffic.

This entry was posted in BCBP, economic development, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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