Biz leaders jump on 'technotrain'

To kick off its new technology center scheduled to open next year, the Metropolitan

Business League is using the "technotrain" to educate minority business

owners about technology.

Currently, 10 business owners are being trained on computers and the Internet

by using the recreation vehicle that is equipped with 11 computer stations.

When the owners are proficient in computers and the Internet, they will

be given a computer for their company.

"We realized that many minority business owners, or at least some of them,

were not using technology to the fullest extent possible to enhance business

opportunities," said Lynda Sharp Anderson, president and chief executive

officer of the MBL.

The E-Commerce Technology Resource Center will be a 3,000 square foot technology

center designed to teach business owners about the Internet and other information

technology resources. It is scheduled to open in January 2001.

Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, a program of the Office of

the Secretary of Technology that fosters technology development, gave a

$75,000 grant for the center. It will be used to cover staffing costs and

the delivery of training resources.

The "technotrain," or J. Sergeant Reynolds Technology mobile unit, will

be available at the office of the MBL on Wednesdays 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

until July 12. The office, also the location of the future technology center,

is at 115 East Marshall Street, Richmond, Va.

Local business owner Johnny Johnson, president and CEO of Marketplace Holdings

Inc., and the Greater Richmond Technology Council spearheaded the use of

the unit. The MBL represents over 300 minority-owned businesses in the Richmond

metropolitan area.

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