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Timely Rural Opportunities

By Frank Odasz Email: frank@lone-eagles.com


The economic costs of the Katrina disaster and the Iraq war stand to dramatically reduce state and federal community development funding at a time when the rural economic decline in particular, and out-sourcing of jobs, and out-migration of our youth is becoming a national disaster in its own right. Solutions do exist but they require a spirit of innovation as well as widespread participation in order to be successful.
The Internet represents a tool with the potential for unlimited e-learning, fingertip access to global markets, and opportunities for unlimited collaboration between communities in each state, across the U.S., as well as with global communities - IF we can learn to leverage the benefits while there is still time.


Lone Eagle Consulting’s entry-level self-directed ecommerce training resources could be

used by Katrina evacuees as a fast-track entry-level web-based self-employment

training solution. Or by all rural citizens if they are informed of the availability and ideally provided access to peer mentors locally.


It is important for national leaders to understand the scalability of the solutions Lone Eagle Consulting has been presenting statewide in Montana during the past two years as part of a demonstration project for the U.S. Department of Labor. There are many action strategies rural and urban individuals and communities CAN engage in to use the Internet to grow their economies without outside funding.


In fact, motivating the majority of Americans to begin to get involved with the global innovation economy is something the government cannot mandate, but that citizens must  decide to do for themselves, and for each other. Not since WWII has there been a greater need for Americans to volunteer to help one another, and today we have powerful tools at our fingertips that can dramatically leverage the goodwill of everyone who participates.


As the new national community networking and wireless resources coordinator for the CTC VISTA project (http://www.comtechreview.org/spring-summer-2005/000337.html ) Lone Eagle Consulting has posted an instructional blog (public web log) as a scalable fast-track self-directed entry-level web-based self-employment training solution. www.cpcs.umb.edu/vista/blog/frank_odasz

Note: The next Community Technology Review will be a special issue on community networking. Current and past issues are at http://www.comtechreview.org


National, state, and local leaders have a unique opportunity to validate bottom-up ecommerce innovations by innovative Americans by encouraging online sharing of ecommerce success stories, existing free online training, and peer-mentoring programs.
Such as the programs described in detail at http://lone-eagles.com/seeds.htm and http://lone-eagles.com/mentoring-mission.htm


A brief example community event: Sept. 22nd, 2005, in a community of 200 (Winnett, MT) a community web-raiser event was held, and after a 1-1/2 hour presentation... 30 adult attendees created a beginning community website with 16 free ecommerce sites...in only 45 minutes.  After this initial ecommerce awareness event everyone can now continue to develop their own free password-protected ecommerce web sites. The community website is http://winnett-webraiser.tripod.com 

Suggested next steps would be to engage citizens in online learning via online lessons designed for rural citizens that have never taken an online class before. “A Beginners Guide to Profiting from the Internet” http://lone-eagles.com/ecom.htm  Ten two-hour lessons provide a hands-on overview of what’s working for others like them with Ebay, Ecommerce, and Telework. The only skills necessary for these lessons are “point and click.” The next hands-on workshop will focus on emarketing strategies and affiliate programs.


The whole point here is that by coming together, the community created something significant....which via word-of-mouth will generate anticipation for the next event to be held in just a few weeks. Similar events can show communities how to work together to create a mentors roster for peer-mediated skills transfer, a web-business directory and co-emarketing program, an ecommerce incubator to help all businesses establish a web presence, engaging K12 students as digital entrepreneurs, celebrating local innovators, and more.


As citizens become aware of the web innovations of other rural communities, they'll be in a position to support locals with web skills (youth in particular) to generate ongoing innovations.


This "ongoing" community learning process will prove to be indispensable for any national initiative focused on community participation related to Internet/Ecommerce adoption and applications. 


Current Lone Eagle Resources include Ecommerce success stories from Idaho, Native American resources, graduate online courses for K12 educators, community grant templates, and more at http://lone-eagles.com/future-proofing.htm ...representing five-years of USDA-supported innovations in partnership with Idaho State University's College of Technology Workforce Training Office.


Hard Evidence That This Model Has Already Been Proven to Work
Recommended validation for what’s possible would be viewing the recent CNBC documentary “The Ebay Effect: Worldwide Obsession” As the fastest growing company in U.S. history, Ebay serves as the best global example of an online community flourishing and producing widespread income in the process. Ebay has 135 million users and has expanded into 33 countries. This would make Ebay the 9th largest country in the world, and they have only just begun. Ebay growth in the UK has been 100% or better for 17 quarters in a row. Ebay gains 20,000 new users a day in China. 15% of Ebay trades cross international borders and this will soon dramatically increase.


Toward the end of the video it shows folks in rural communities who enjoy
self-sufficiency due to Ebay. The show ended with the potential for third
world crafters to benefit - but stated that today it is still just an idea.
Order the $40 video:http://moneycentral.msn.com/Content/CNBCTV/TV_Info/email.asp You can also call 877-251-5685


Today, Ebay, Yahoo, Amazon, Google and other large corporations are beginning to focus on providing localized services; free collaborative tools, (http://groups.yahoo.com) free ecommerce web sites (http://tripod.com ), free resume-building with local job searches, (http://monster.com ) local searches (http://google.com ), local sales (http://froogle.com ), local maps (http://mapquest.com ), local classified ads (http://craigslist.com ) local satellite images and GIS mapping tools(http://earth.google.com ), and even local dating (http://eharmony.com ).

Frank Odasz, as Lone Eagle Consulting, has been working with online innovations in Montana for 20 years (including the Big Sky Telegraph 1988-1998) and offers unique expertise and extensive training resources to counter the current rural economic decline. Having presented keynotes for government conferences in Australia and Jamaica, Frank will be delivering a train-the-trainers workshop Oct. 26, 2005 to Canadian rural network directors in British Columbia while advising Industry Canada on their new national strategy focused on Internet Ecommerce adoption and applications.
Details at http://lone-eagles.com/network-coordinators-meeting.htm