Businesses Invited To Rural Business Accelerator


Staff Report

Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, has developed the Rural Business Accelerator (RBA), an innovative “train the trainer” program to strengthen existing businesses in downtowns in rural Delaware. Generous support for this local capacity-building program has been provided by USDA Rural Development.

Downtown Milford, Inc. has been chosen by Downtown Delaware to pilot the RBA. Based on the results of a recent downtown Milford merchant survey, the program launched a series of training sessions that provide businesses with the necessary skills they need to grow and thrive. The first training was held on February 26 and focused on helping businesses identify their target market and its needs. The next training is scheduled for March 27 and will help businesses strengthen their Value Proposition – how well they can serve the needs of the target market. This training will be held at 6:30 pm in the Milford Public Library, pre-registration is required. Please contact Lee Nelson, Executive Director, Downtown Milford Inc. at

This training will provide businesses with a basic foundation for learning and applying a critical business skill.
From this training, businesses can schedule one-on-one meetings with business specialists from the RBA program. In these meetings, RBA mentors will work together to build a success plan for each business which addresses the needs of the business and builds on the strengths.

Downtown Delaware have selected qualified local entrepreneurs and merchants, who will then serve as “RBA Mentors” for downtown business owners who want to increase sales, engage new customers, and generally become more proficient in running their business. Downtown Delaware will join these local leaders with additional business support in the form of experts and resources and will utilize the local and state resources to help businesses.

The RBA Mentors will assess the strengths of local businesses, while targeting areas of opportunity in the following key areas, all toward a goal of strengthening local businesses and enhancing profitability: managment team, target market, value proposition to the customer, marketing efforts, revenue & profit, operations, and capital and finance.

Together, the RBA Mentors and participating local business owners will build a “success plan” for their business. As business owners implement the plan, the RBA Mentor will visit regularly to monitor progress. To ensure a strong outcome, a Downtown Delaware business development consultant will provide ongoing coaching to the Mentors, as well as group training.

“We are especially excited about this program because it not only builds skills of the individual entrepreneurs, but of the downtown business community collectively,” said Diane Laird, State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware.

All local businesses are welcome to attend the Value Proposition training session to be held on Wednesday, March 27, at 6:30 pm in the Milford Public Library.