Writer: Kevin Robinson-Avila
ALBUQUERQUE - Business owners in northeastern New Mexico and West Texas can learn to use the Internet to improve the bottom line at a workshop Sept. 8-9 in Tucumcari.
New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service is offering the seminar as part of its Teleliteracy Assistance for Businesses and Communities, or Teleliteracy ABCs project. Although anybody can participate, the workshop is targeting businesses in six counties: Quay, Guadalupe, De Baca, Harding, San Miguel and Union.
"Businesspeople need to use the Internet to compete in today's economy," said Bob Coppedge, an Extension rural economic development specialist. "This workshop will help businesspeople take steps to enter the digital economy. For those already online, it will help them exploit more Internet opportunities."
The Teleliteracy ABCs project, which began in 2000 with a $250,000 grant from Qwest, helps local entrepreneurs and government officials learn how to bridge the "digital divide" between urban and rural communities. Through hands-on workshops, participants learn basic tools to launch e-commerce projects on their own.
The workshop includes tracks for beginners and intermediate Internet users. Beginners will learn about Internet-based business and marketing plans, and review the key elements of an attractive World Wide Web site, Coppedge said.
"We'll demonstrate good and bad Web concepts and recommend designs that fit the individual needs of participants," Coppedge said. "Apart from selling goods and services online, we'll show how to conduct online business transactions, such as applying for licenses, placing ads, controlling inventory, tracking sales and building invoices."
Intermediate-level participants will learn to improve their Web sites, such as adding features to attract more online customers and creating mailing lists. "We'll show them how to do market research online and how to tailor Web designs to meet the needs of customers," Coppedge said.
Instructors include Jan Zimmerman, author of "Marketing on the Internet" and owner of Albuquerque-based Sandia Consulting; Extension agents Pam Brown and Connie Hancock, who teach e-commerce in Texas and Nebraska, respectively; and Nancy Cordero, an NMSU Rural Economic Development Through Tourism coordinator, who teaches online tourism promotion. All instructors will be available for one-on-one consultation.
The workshop runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 8, and 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 9 at Mesalands Community College. Registration is $30, which includes educational materials and meals.
The workshop is co-sponsored by the Eastern New Mexico Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (ENMR-Plateau) and the Eastern Plains Council of Governments.
For more information, or if you if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, call Pete Walden at (505) 461-0562 or Coppedge at (505) 646-4122.
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