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Posted on: November 7, 2011

Fostering rural entrepreneurs, expanding broadband access focus of Rural Opportunities Conference

The Rural Opportunities Conference, sponsored by the Kansas Department of Commerce, is set for Nov. 16-17 in Salina. The conference is an educational event for rural entrepreneurs and telecommunications professionals.

The conference will capitalize on the momentum generated from two legacy programs at the Department – Marketplace and the Broadband Summit. This new, emerging program for rural audiences leverages common goals in support of economic advancement through technology. Entrepreneurs and community representatives will connect with broadband experts to explore advanced economic solutions, plot development strategies and network with industry colleagues.

The conference will feature general and breakout sessions focused on market research; analysis and data usage; advertising and promotions utilizing social media; economic gardening; exporting and industry creation; the role and future of rural telecommunications providers; technology expansion and a review of broadband applications for community anchor institutions.

WHAT: Rural Opportunities Conference, sponsored by the Kansas Department of Commerce Rural Development Division; the Kansas Telecommunications Industry Association; the State Independent Telephone Association of Kansas; Rocking M Radio Inc. of Manhattan; Nex-Tech Inc. of Hays; NetWork Kansas; the Center for Engagement and Community Development at Kansas State University; the Center for Entrepreneurship, Institute for Policy and Social Research at the University of Kansas; AT&T Kansas in Topeka and Cox Business in Wichita.

WHO: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will speak at the opening luncheon on Nov. 16. Other speakers include Don Macke, director of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Lincoln, Neb., and Ron Wilson with the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at KSU.

WHEN/WHERE: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov. 16 and 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Nov. 17, at the Bicentennial Center, 800 The Midway, Salina, Kan. 67401. The first day of the conference also will feature a reception and open exhibits beginning at 5 p.m.

REGISTRATION: To register, sign up for exhibitor space or view the complete schedule and list of speakers, go to http://tinyurl.com/66xugr2. Contact Tricia Kensinger-Rice with the Department at (785) 296-0650 or trice@kansascommerce.com for more information. Registration ends Nov. 9.

MEDIA NOTES: Media are welcome to attend the event, but should RSVP to Dan Lara, public information officer, Department of Commerce, at (785) 296-3760 or dlara@kansascommerce.com.

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