Bringing rural techies together to boost economic development in Itasca County

Posted in Broadband, Grants

A full house for the first Itasca Area Social Media Breakfast

Calling all rural techies! Itasca County needs you.

As one of the nine Blandin Broadband Communities, the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is bringing together Itasca technology professionals to conduct assessments of local businesses and lead a series of social media breakfasts.

“Our overall goal is to expand our knowledge and culture of use of broadband technology in Itasca County,” said Mark Zimerman, president of IEDC. “If our businesses can learn from one another, we can grow the region’s presence on the web and enhance business outreach to customers and potential customers.”

Through technology assessments, thirty area businesses will be able to see where they fall on the technology continuum and receive recommendations on how they can move their business forward with increased adoption.

“If a business can’t be found on the web, it essentially doesn’t exist. We need to get more and more of our businesses to create a web presence so they can better engage,” said Zimmerman.

While a set number of businesses will receive technology assessments, the social media breakfasts will be open to all. These gathering will be a way for area businesses to access the talent and knowledge of  local technology providers, social media enthusiasts and more.

Today, IEDC held their first breakfast, featuring Molly Solberg as the speaker. Molly is the co-founder of Duluth’s Social Media Breakfasts and the Director of Sales and Marketing at Duluth Pack. Following her presentation, Molly said, “Facebook is the third largest county in the world. That’s where everybody is. A business cannot afford to not be there.”

Rural communities across the state are holding social media breakfasts to show their local businesses the benefit of getting connected. Starting with the Minnesota Rural Intelligent Communities program, Blandin Foundation has supported these gathering as a way to encourage broadband adoption. Other Blandin Broadband Community grantees holding social media breakfasts include Lake of the Woods and Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services.

The next Itasca Area Social Media Breakfast is set to be held November 26,  7:30 AM at the Itasca Technology Exchange. Click here to join the Facebook group and click here to view the website.

Also, if you’re a business in Itasca County interested in a technology assessment, click here to sign up.


Presenter Molly Solberg answers the question: Why does today’s 21st century business need to use social media to connect with their customers?