North American Rural Futures Institute logo

News Release

For Immediate Release
5 March 2003


North American Rural Futures Institute
Montana State University - Northern
Havre, MT 59501
www.narfi.org
Timlynn Babitsky, Director
Ph (406) 265-6354

Contact:
Timlynn Babitsky
(406) 265-6354




'BIG SKY CHANDLERS' MICROENTERPRISE NETWORK ANNOUNCED BY NARFI'S RURAL ENTREPRENEURISM COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE

Microbusinesses Selling Soybean Wax Candles Are Subject Of Project Mentored By North American Rural Futures Institute

5 March 2003, Des Moines IA - Timlynn Babitsky, director of the North American Rural Futures Institute (NARFI) at Montana State University Northern, announced today -- at the Iowa Creative Economy Unconference -- the formation of NARFI's first Community of Practice and the launch of its first applied research project, Big Sky Chandlers, a microenterprise network to make and sell soybean wax candles.

"The Rural Entrepreneurism Community of Practice is the first of our network of subject matter experts and active practitioners to address NARFI's outreach and futures-oriented economic development mission," Babitsky said. "Mentor-based education and applied research in our rural communities are essential to the development of new, sustainable small and emerging businesses in an increasingly, global competitive marketplace. The launch of Big Sky Chandlers will give the Rural Entrepreneurism Community of Practice a practical and timely subject for their applied research and mentoring service."

Tracey Jette, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Bear Paw Development Corporation in Havre, Montana, is the first member to fill a local seat on NARFI's Rural Entrepreneurism Community of Practice.

"Microenterprise networks will play a vital role in creating employment and small business opportunities in our rural communities," said Ms. Jette. "Bear Paw Development Corporation, through our Small Business Development Center and our Montana Microbusiness Development loan program, is already engaged in assisting the current generation of microenterprises. Big Sky Chandlers, with its innovative microenterprise network business model, represents the next step in the evolution of microbusiness in rural northcentral Montana."

Big Sky Chandlers will be developed as a state-wide 'hub' in the Chandler Guild microenterprise network being launched today at the Iowa Creative Economy Unconference by Soyawax and Sohodojo. Consistent with the North American Rural Futures Institute's program of applied research and education, Big Sky Chandlers will be 'adopted' as a business development project by the Rural Entrepreneurism Community of Practice.

"Our involvement in mentoring and studying the development of Big Sky Chandlers is a classic 'win-win-win' situation," said Ms. Jette. "The microentrepreneurs of Big Sky Chandlers win by having experienced mentors at their side. The NARFI Rural Entrepreneurism Community of Practice wins because we get to evaluate an emerging new business model under development. And our local, regional and state-wide economies win by having innovative small business networks contribute to our sustainable future."

Learn more about the North American Rural Futures Institute and the Big Sky Chandlers project of the Rural Entrepreneurism Community of Practice at the NARFI web site, http://narfi.org.

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