iCONN News

Friday, August 12, 2005

I should’ve brought gold stars to give to the many people who dug into their wallets and showed me their public library cards on August 9th! That was just part of the overwhelmingly positive response that Steve Cauffman and I got from an estimated 700 attendees while exhibiting iCONN at the Small & Minority Business Showcase in Waterbury. When I explained to passersby that all of the iCONN resources were free and that all they needed to use iCONN was their library card, people would not only tell me – but insisted on showing me – that they had their library cards.

The showcase is run by the Secretary of State’s office twice a year. Members of the public can attend the showcase for free and vendors can get a booth at the low cost of $99, making it an attractive venue for both. When we noticed the promotions for the Small & Minority Business Showcase, in the CT Calendar of Events at http://www.ctcalendar.com/ and in Waterbury’s Republican-American newspaper, we realized that it would be a great opportunity for us to get in touch with the public and, in particular, with small business owners.

There were over 105 exhibitors present at the showcase. The sponsorship of such entities as the Greater Waterbury Black Business Association and the nationally renowned Black Enterprise magazine, of course, helped. We connected with a number of representatives from various state departments (the Department of Economic and Community Development, for example), nonprofit organizations, and community colleges. We were surprised to see how many people weren’t aware of iCONN or didn’t realize how much the service could do for them (even people representing our fellow state agencies), but we were glad that we were there to tell them about it.

We’re grateful to the Secretary of State’s Director of Community Outreach and Business Development (Mr. Harland O. Henry), who gave us booth space for the Connecticut Digital Library and free wi-fi access to show the service off live. Due to the positive response at this conference, we hope to continue attending these business showcases. We hope to further the partnership with the Secretary of State’s office by providing links from the Connecticut Business Showcase’s website (http://www.ctshowcase.biz/) to iCONN’s high-quality business resources.

Submitted by: Sharon Clapp, Outreach Coordinator
Date: August 11, 2005

P.S. To read more about the event, check out the Waterbury Republican-American for an 8/10/05 article by Marc Silvestrini (http://www.rep-am.com).

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