Funding Economic Development and Sustainability

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Reported by Marcel Albritton and William Hart

Thurday's opening session began with a welcome and announcements from Patrick Finn, the Managing Director of the La Plaza Telecommunity Foundation. One of the major announcements was the announcement of the development of the International Association of Community Networks (see related story). The three presenters spoke on the funding, economic development and sustainability from different perspectives.

Steve Cisler, the Manager of the Network Outreach Program in Advanced Technology Group at Apple Computer, presented on the 'New Players in Community Networking.' Cisler discussed how new players are entering the community networking areana. He told the conference audience "we aren't the only game in town." According to Cisler the players are:

In concluding remarks Cisler announced Apple's new web brower, Project X. The new web browser provides a "2 1/2- dimensional view" of the web site. The audience was impressed by the visual appeal of the browser, but Cisler warned when browsing using the Project X you "may get dizzy." The browser may be downloaded at Cisler and the Network Outreach Program can be reached at (408) 974-3258.

Amy Borgstrom, Executive Director of the Appalachian Center fo Economic Networks (ACEnet), presented her work on economic development using community networks in rural southeastern Ohio. Borgstrom works with micro enterprise firms focusing on two market niches (specialty foods and wood products). Borgstrom assists small businesses in southeastern Ohio by getting business connected to ACEnet.

ACEnet has got small businesses in southeastern Ohio connected with buyers and people with similar interests all over the United States. Borgstrom noted that an additional benefit has come out of the work of ACEnet in sourtheastern Ohio. In addition to getting the businesses connected to the outside world for increased profit, the connections made by Borgstrom through ACEnet has also helped to break down stereotypes of Applachian Ohio.