The Rural Outreach Programs and Education (ROPE) is designed to strengthen community and small business competitiveness. It is a multi-pronged business development effort to support economic stability and capacity-building in Southeast Alaska. The program will bring together different entities across the state in a collaborative effort, so the program recipients will have increased levels of technical assistance, training, and communication.
One component in this process was to conduct a phone survey of businesses in Southeast Alaska. The survey was designed to determine the specific training and assistance needs of participating communities in Southeast Alaska. By focusing on 13 specific communities and gathering extensive information on each one, ROPE will offer targeted training and workshops, one-on-one confidential counseling, need-specific consultants and seminars, and business training. In May and June of 2008, 128 structured interviews were completed in the 13 communities. The majority of these interviews—88—were with businesses in the private sector, and the remaining 40 were with non-profit, tribal, or municipal organizations.
Businesses were asked detailed questions about employees, customers, business expenses, and start-up costs and experiences. The questionnaire was designed to gather information about where employees were from, where customers were from, and the percentage of sales that were to local versus non-local customers. Both businesses and organizations were asked about training they felt would be beneficial and to offer advice to organizations trying to help businesses in Southeast.
Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage
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