Through a partnership with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. helped identify seven communities to receive assistance, via eTeans, to help grow local businesses through the power of broadband. Those communities were Prestosburg, Pineville/Middlesboro, Morehead, Berea, Hazard, Hyden, and Whitebsurg.
Through a POWER grant provided to EKCEP by the Economic Development Agency, companies were trained on the benefits of broadband and unleashing that strategy to bring in new customers and grow their respective businesses. Partners for the eTeams training included, SOAR, EKCEP, Advantage Kentucky Alliance, Kentucky Small Business Development Centers, Kentucky Innovation Network, Strategic Networks Group, BitSource,, and Symbiois Media Group.
Some of the milestones met in 2017 included the training of 17 companies in immersive training and consulting that saved 134 jobs and created 13 jobs. Advantage Kentucky Alliance provided growth, implementation strategy, and e-commerce training, while the Kentucky Small Business Development Center provided growth, implementation strategy, and a deep dive of existing website training to companies. Through this work, 10 e-commerce sites were launched.
The project is under the direction of Ian Mooers of EKCEP and seeks to identify new markets for business growth, grow manufacturing, and explore their online presence and develop skills in e-commerce, marketing, and social media business practices.