MIRC garners Tekne Award for innovation

We’re celebrating tonight with our Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) Partners.  Together, we were named the 2012 Innovative Collaboration of the Year at this evening’s Tekne Awards, sponsored by the Minnesota High Tech Association.

Over the past two years, our coalition of 10 rural Minnesota communities and dozens of regional and statewide partners has worked together to bring the promise of broadband fully to Minnesota’s rural communities.   MIRC partners focused on sustainable broadband adoption, job growth and wealth creation.

Leveraging a $4.3 million in  federal investment available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, partners implemented more than 70 projects such as:

  • Website training for small business
  • Internet applications to help seniors connect with doctors and loved ones
  • Computer literacy classes in immigrants’ native languages
  • Providing free computers and reduced-cost internet subscriptions for low-income families so they can advance their education and job searches.

All told, MIRC Partners have provided training to more than 8,000 individuals, computers to more than 1,600 households and has resulted in more than 40,000 households in rural Minnesota subscribing to high-speed internet service – which surpassed the project goal by about 2,000 households.

“Resilient communities are anchored in the quality and diversity of their connections,” said Dr. Kathy Annette, Blandin Foundation CEO.  “Through their leadership, the MIRC Partners have demonstrated possibilities available through robust access to and use of broadband.”

Didn’t get enough Tekne here? See more about the event and winners in other categories, visit the Blandin on Broadband blog watch the awards ceremony livestream, or track the #tekneawards hashtag on Twitter.