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09-25-2004

Senator Hillary Clinton Visits Clarkson University To Announce Expansion Of Economic Initiatives In Northern New York

Twenty-three more businesses will join successful Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative to reach global marketplace through e-commerce initiatives; Clarkson’s supportive role acknowledged.

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/natc.jpg]

Potsdam, N.Y. – U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce held a joint news conference at Clarkson University today to announce the expansion of the highly successful Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative (NATC), launched in 2003.

The NATC will expand to include 23 more entrepreneurs from seven additional counties to create additional employment and economic opportunities in the North Country.natc

“In the first year of this project we have helped businesses grow, we’ve brought new jobs and we have showcased some of the skills and talents of the people of the North Country,” said Clinton. “And maybe even more importantly, we have shown that the North Country is part of the global economy.”

The senator also announced that the cooperative would be partnering with the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) to provide an “eBay university” training and development session for approximately 75 to 100 artisans and crafts people across the region.

NATC is an economic initiative developed by the Chamber of Commerce with support from Senator Clinton that helps local businesses sell products in the global Internet marketplace. When it was launched a year ago, 15 northern New York businesses received professional assistance, equipment, and low-cost loans to market and sell their products over the eBay Internet auctions site.

Senator Clinton also singled out St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen St. Hilaire as the driving force behind the trading cooperative, saying it was St. Hilaire’s creativity that helped to get the idea off the ground. Senator Clinton and St. Hilaire, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clarkson, met two years ago and brainstormed the concept, which eventually became the NATC.

Clarkson University was invited to host the chamber-sponsored event in recognition of the vital role it has played in the success of NATC. Clarkson students and faculty in business and technical communications have worked with the area businesses on how to operate donated computer equipment and how to best position their products for sale on eBay.

Clarkson University President Tony Collins welcomed Senator Clinton and praised her efforts to expand economic opportunities in Northern New York.

“When I became president of Clarkson, I challenged our campus community to turn our research discoveries and intellectual capacity into businesses and jobs — beginning with our neighbors across the North Country,” said Collins. “At the time, I was cautioned by pessimists against devoting our energy to what they saw as the thankless task of economic development in the region.

“But, Senator Clinton, your presence here today proves that together, as partners, we can make a difference. The Senator — and many others who are here — have demonstrated just how the so-called impossible does become possible.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will also provide nearly $100,000 over three years to employ a NATC project director to oversee the cooperative, select new participants, and work with small business owners to establish successful operations.

Several companies and organizations are helping to ensure the program’s success.

HSBC will provide monies for a micro-loan to be administered by Rural Opportunities Inc. This fund will allow each business to apply for up to $25,000 that can be used for business operations, including purchase of raw materials, hiring people, or space for work or storage. Hewlett Packard has provided more than $50,000 worth of computers and digital cameras.

eBay will conduct training every six months for new participants to assist their success in online sales.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) will provide business counseling to participants and the Small Business Development Center will offer classes on small business planning.

Twenty-seven NATC businesses were represented at the event. Tim Damon of Damon Rodworks of Potsdam spoke on the positive effects the online sales have had on his own business.

In June, members of Clarkson's chapter of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) received national recognition at the SIFE USA National Exposition in part for their involvement with NATC partnership. The Clarkson students’ presentation outlined the work they did with 10 of the NATC businesses and included a videotaped interview with Sen. Clinton praising the SIFE team’s involvement in the partnership and its efforts on behalf of the rural upstate economy.

Since his inauguration as president of Clarkson last year, Collins has demonstrated a commitment to assist regional economic growth through university-business partnerships.

PHOTO CAPTION: U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce announced the expansion of the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative (NATC) at a joint news conference at Clarkson University. Left to right:  Karen Collins, Clarkson University President Tony Collins, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen St. Hilaire.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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