California dollars go to tech projects

To boost e-commerce in rural areas, California doled out nearly $2 million

in matching grants for technology projects it hopes to share statewide.

Through these grants, awarded in mid-March, the state hopes to encourage

the creation and retention of jobs, increase the number of small businesses

participating in e-commerce and raise the businesses' product sales.

The funds will go to nine nonprofit groups and educational institutions

throughout the state. The total budget for the projects is $6.8 million,

including $930,000 in federal matching funds.

Grants include:

* $490,000 to California State University's Fresno Foundation, to add

32 home-based retail and business service start-ups in Fresno County.

* $375,000 to the Great Valley Center, Modesto, to develop a network

of public/private partnerships, including creating business plans, in eight

surrounding counties.

* $275,000 to the Golden State Capital Network, Chico, to identify e-commerce

based business ventures, including training 60 firms and creating at least

20 jobs.

* $250,000 to the North Coast Small Business Development Center, Crescent

City, to help businesses access e-commerce technology, provide technical

assistance and improve competitiveness.

* $250,000 to the Milken Institute, Santa Monica, to assess investment

for entrepreneurial growth and analyze the need to train workers in the

New Economy.

* $125,000 to the Woodland Economic Renaissance Corporation, Woodland,

to evaluate and create a rural wireless network to lessen the telecommunications

gap affecting local trade.

* $100,000 to Regional Analysis and Planning Services Inc., Marina,

to develop a database and literature for rural economic initiatives involving

fiber-optic cable routes.

* $85,000 to the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, Grass Valley,

to provide e-commerce training for local businesses and assess the need

for a Metropolitan Area Network in the region.

* $50,000 to the Bakersfield College Foundation to stimulate e-commerce

growth and assist up to 15 companies in their start-up phases.

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