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Sample Concept Paper

The Virtual Community Group, Inc.

Enterprise 2000

The Virtual Community Group, Inc. is recruiting partners from the funding community to help launch an exciting new initiative that will create lasting, future-oriented employment for residents of low income rural communities: Enterprise 2000. Leveraging rapid advances in technology and the Internet, Enterprise 2000 will provide key training and support to low income entrepreneurs, including welfare recipients, that will enable them to build sustainable small businesses and service the world-wide cyber market. We anticipate that within 3 years Enterprise 2000 will create and sustain at least 1200 new businesses in rural New Hampshire; and establish a model that will contribute to the revitalization of rural communities throughout the U.S.

As elsewhere in the U.S., the economic health of New Hampshire's rural communities has suffered steady decline since the early 1900's. Family farms, which once formed an economic base supporting large numbers of rural inhabitants, have been all but eradicated by large-scale agribusiness. Since 1960, New Hampshire has lost xx% of its manufacturing jobs, as corporations or local factories have shut down or moved operations out of state. In the absence of such base industries, traditional small businesses also have trouble surviving: in the best of times, the distance between households and towns already limit commerce; in troubled times, this problem is greatly compounded by depressed family incomes. As a result, many thousands of individuals from New Hampshire -- particularly our young people -- are moving to cities to seek jobs, not only depopulating and further impoverishing rural communities, but contributing to the growing pool of urban unemployed.

By tapping the energy of the small local entrepreneur, and linking it to the explosion in communications technologies, we believe it is possible to reverse this trend, enabling rural inhabitants to retain viable, high-quality jobs far from industrial and urban centers. Small towns would again offer a wide spectrum of employment opportunities -- from small manufacturing to services to retail -- and develop sound, diversified economies for the first time in generations.

Unfortunately, many small entrepreneurs cannot afford either the training or equipment needed to participate in the rewards of the Information Revolution. Enterprise 2000 was designed explicitly to address this lack of parity, and help level the communications playing field. Working in collaboration with microenterprise organizations, community colleges, and agencies which recycle computer hardware, Enterprise 2000 will offer disadvantaged entrepreneurs the following services at low or no charge:

  • Day-time or evening classes in basic, intermediate, and advanced computer skills
  • Training to use the Internet and other information networks
  • Assessment of MIS needs
  • Access to reconditioned computer hardware

The Virtual Community Group, Inc. brings a very unusual combination of expertise and experience to bear on the Enterprise 2000 initiative. On both the staff and board, successful high tech entrepreneurs provide a command of cutting-edge technologies; while leaders from the community contribute a strong understanding of and credibility within the constituency we serve. This team created the ground-breaking HAL Anti-Poverty Project, which has supported technology internships and secured employment for over 200 low income high school drop-outs from inner cities in Massachusetts, and was awarded the Al Gore Medal for Creativity in Technology and Social Service in 1993. With the backing of the funding community, the same team will pilot Enterprise 2000 in New Hampshire, a focused employment training model that will generate genuine, future-oriented businesses and job opportunities for low income rural communities throughout the U.S.

(This sample concept paper was created for AGM by Molly Clark Associates.)

Other Sample Documents:
Sample Cover Letter
Sample Letter of Inquiry