Downtown DE Offers Business Training


Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, has developed the Rural Business Accelerator (RBA). This is an innovative “train the trainer” program designed to strengthen existing businesses in downtowns in rural Delaware. 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 Rural Business Accelerator helps businesses in two major ways,” stated John Childress, RBA Business Consultant.  “Businesses that participate will be able to strengthen their operations, revenues, and profits thanks to the partnership of local experts combined with state and federal resources. The RBA program also connects participants with other businesses and business leaders in the community. Many other business owners are facing similar challenges and working together can help solve them.”

During the RBA program, existing Milford business owners with extensive knowledge in the fields of marketing, finance, image and design will reach out to businesses in Milford, providing advice and guidance. During the private sessions, business mentors will familiarize themselves with the business and create recommendations to challenges identified by the mentored business. RBA business mentor Lee Nelson, will utilize his 23 years of banking and finance experience as he offers knowledge about lending and loan practices.

“I have been a business lending officer with leading US banks including Citibank and Wells Fargo and understand how they approach business lending,” stated Nelson. “I can help local businesses formulate loan/financing requests from  the bank’s point of view. If you understand what is important to them, you have a higher chance of success.”

The Rural Business Accelerator program strongly encourages merchants who are looking to improve their business to set up a meeting with one of the mentors by contacting them directly: Lee Nelson at, Sherry Shaffer at, Bryan Shupe at or Chuck Stanko at

The next training is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 and will focus on how businesses can build successful marketing campaigns. This training will be held at 6:30 pm in the Milford Public Library. This training will provide businesses with a basic foundation for marketing. For more detailed assistance, businesses are encouraged to schedule 1 on 1 meetings with business specialists (RBA Mentors) from the RBA program.

The RBA program aims to leave a lasting impression on the Milford business community by giving business owners the tools they need for future success. The RBA program will help Milford businesses learn the best practices and how to utilize all of the resources at their disposal to make their business stronger.

“The program will strengthen the current business support organizations in the community by helping to bring more people to their programs and by establishing stronger links with state resources,” commented Childress. “The RBA is a method for cooperation among businesses that can lead to better practices for the businesses and support organizations in the community.”