For those of you interested in our little corner of the world, in Santa Barbara, CA, I am pleased to have this opportunity to blog about our Coleman Foundation grant funded project. First let me mention that if you are considering applying for a grant next year, I encourage you to do it! It was fun, hard work, a little nerve wracking, and a learning experience. Thanks to the Coleman Foundation and NACCE for making all this happen.
The project we pitched was a "Community Outreach" project. We launched the "South Coast bizConnect" networking site to help accelerate local small business use of social media marketing. The networking site was built to sort of force members that join to post a video profile, as opposed to text. It throws some people! In conjunction with this aspect, with Coleman funds, we will film social media workshops and post them in video format on the site, so members can learn and benefit from these free tools. I will let you know how this goes over the next few weeks. We start filming Friday!
Another aspect of the site is to gradually build a database of local information for start-ups (for students and entrepreneurs) and small businesses. We have several "experts" in different fields signed up to answer discussion thread questions. We have a legal section, food service, HR, construction, real estate, and IP, to name a few. So, we are trying to get our expert profiles loaded (we are having some technical difficulties) and get members asking questions and experts answering them.
An interesting ancillary product of setting this networking site up and going out into the community to drum up support, was all the small businesses interested in sponsoring interns! So we have gotten about 10 intern sponsors signed up already and have launched an internship program.
I will look forward to giving you an update next month. If you are interested in following our progress, please check out www.southcoastbizconnect.ning.com and don't hesitate to ask me questions if you are considering building your own community network!
Thanks for reading,
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