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Senator Hillary Clinton Recognizes Clarkson University's Role In Joint North Country Economic Initiative
[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/clinton.jpg.]
When U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton recently visited the North Country to launch an e-commerce initiative in St. Lawrence County, she recognized Clarkson University faculty and students who have been working successfully with the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce to help local businesses sell products in the global Internet marketplace.
Representatives of the student-run Clarkson Consulting Group attended the launch of the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative, an economic initiative developed by the chamber of commerce with support from Senator Clinton.
The enterprise will provide 15 businesses with professional assistance, equipment, and low-cost loans to market and sell their products over the eBay Internet auction site. Clarkson students will advise business owners on how to best position their items for sale on eBay and teach them how to operate donated computer equipment.
“I’m very enthused about how this partnership with eBay will enable rural businesses to reach national and global markets. The assistance of students from Clarkson University will play a key role in making this initiative a success,” said Senator Clinton. ”Clarkson plays a vital role in the economy of the North Country, and we look forward to building upon the success of past University-business collaborations.”
“We’re excited that northern New York businesses will have a new way to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit on eBay,” said St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen M. St. Hilaire. “The mission of eBay is to provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything. Area businesses will be able to tap into the $14.87-billion selling market on eBay. With 69 million current users, and users growing by seven million each quarter, eBay represents an enormous and rapidly growing market.”
This latest collaboration is part of Clarkson’s ongoing commitment to economic development in northern New York. Clarkson students have helped several area businesses use the Internet to increase profits and expand sales opportunities.
YesterYear’s Vintage Doors, a family-run business based in Hammond, N.Y., is an example of a business successfully using the Internet, thanks in part to assistance they received from the Clarkson student consultants.
“In 1996 we launched a company Web site with technology that soon became outdated and we were not getting much Internet response,” said YesterYear’s Owner Howard Demick. “We knew we needed more exposure; so earlier this year we contacted Clarkson’s Internet Consulting Group. The students did an outstanding job providing market research and redesigning our Web site to better position the company and promote its products on the Internet.”
“The students significantly improved the company’s visibility in the Web-based marketplace,” added Clarkson Director of Entrepreneurial Studies Marc Compeau, who supervised the students. “Now some 70 percent of customer inquiries come through the Web.”
St. Hilaire praised the University’s active commitment to fostering economic growth in the North Country. “Through the success of numerous business partnerships, the University has demonstrated its commitment to our region’s economy,” said St. Hilaire. “North Country merchants have some of the best products in the world. By continuing our work with Clarkson, we will be able to ensure that the rest of the world can shop right here in St. Lawrence County."
Twenty-four technical communications students have already begun working with local entrepreneurs on the technical aspects of the eBay project, including training business owners to use laptop computers and digital cameras.
"Technical communication is all about helping people understand and use technology,” said Technical Communications Professor Brenton Faber, faculty adviser to the students. “Helping local entrepreneurs take advantage of the Internet is a great way for our students to get valuable experience that also benefits area businesses.”
Fifteen School of Business students, working in teams under the leadership of Compeau, have been assigned to consult with individual businesses. The students are also developing a series of seminars on topics that will include marketing, record keeping and inventory control, which will be open to all businesses participating in the Web-based initiative.
Clarkson’s curriculum also recognizes the emerging role of the Internet in business. The Clarkson School of Business recently implemented a new e-business major designed to provide students with the ability to employ technologies to manage business in a virtual marketplace.
“As a longtime resident and stakeholder in the region, Clarkson is aware of the vital role it plays in the economic development of the North Country,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “We are very interested in supporting and partnering on initiatives that ensure the economic vitality of our region. One way we do that is by sharing the expertise of our faculty and students and the accompanying technology.” He added that in the future, the University hopes to call upon its partners in major corporations to develop businesses and bring more jobs to the North Country.
Photo caption: Clarkson University was recently recognized by Senator Hillary Clinton for its role in supporting North Country economic development. Left to right: Students Meghan Jones, Corey Girard, Ryan Demick, Peter Bird and Erica Demick; Clarkson Director of Entrepreneurial Studies Marc Compeau; Student Scott Ellsworth; Clinton; St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen St. Hilaire; Student Cristina Danial; Karen Collins; and Clarkson President Tony Collins.