[Note to online version: The report for this project includes appendices that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact North Central SARE at (402) 472-7081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Marketplace is a compilation of entrepreneurial and value-added efforts in North Dakota. It combines booths and educational presentations. No other event provides the networking opportunities to rural residents interested in adding an enterprise to their farm or small town business. This event also fosters new creative ideas to be expanded or developed as rural development and financial institutions also participate. A co-op night focuses on new generation co-op development and attracts the participation of federal USDA officials. Marketplace throws off the blinders of traditional paradigms and stimulates creativity and imagination in developing new rural enterprises and strategies. The event has a huge sponsorship of state, federal, and private organizations. Extension agents from other North Central Region states experienced the event firsthand and took information accumulated back to their states. They also indicated using this event as a model for a similar effort in their states.
1. To allow the vast information displayed at “Marketplace” be shared with other SARE North Central Region PDP programs.
2. To provide an opportunity for interaction with “Marketplace” exhibitors and workshop presenters.
3. To stimulate thought, discussion, and creativity among attendees with the expectation that this will provide impetus for profitable ventures in these states.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Scholarships were offered to two persons from each of the North Central Region states to attend “Marketplace ’99”. The attendees were provided a “get-acquainted” supper prior attending the “Co-op night”. They also attended the actual “Marketplace ’99” event the following day. An evaluation was collected from the participants. No other requirements were imposed. The participants were on their own to take the information they gleaned back to their individual states.
Outreach and Publications
The resource manual is the primary handout given to all participants. Any other information was collected in the information sessions or at the booths.
Linkage to SARE Projects
The idea for this project came from the SARE project giving scholarships to the Small Farm Conference and Trade Show in Missouri. This project used that activity as a model.
Participants all expressed amazement at the size and scale of “Marketplace ‘99”. They indicated satisfaction with the contacts and information which they had accumulated during the day. One participant planned to do a similar event in his home state. Another hoped to convince one of the boards he worked with to all come to this event in 2000.
Participants indicated various ways of including what they had learned “Marketplace ‘99” within their home locations. Some of these included youth programming, sharing with community and economic development boards of directors, doing their own Marketplace, and working with farmers markets. Please see complete evaluation in appendix.
Please refer to the appendix for the complete summarized evaluations. The event appeared to be very well received with perhaps the biggest problem being absorbing all there was to experience. No one can come to this event and leave with no ideas, creative thoughts, or new stimulating contacts. This event should be offered (through scholarship) to individuals from the North Central Region states at least once every three years.
“Marketplace” should be shared with the other states in a similar scholarship offering on a periodic basis. At least once every three years is suggested.