Among the many things we learnt and would like to bring home the extension work in Montana is one most impressive and practical form for local economic empowerment. Local businesses have been impacted greatly from extension work at different levels and various agencies.
The Community Development Cooperation’s that we visited and talked to in Whitehall, Butte, Boulder, Ennis, and Bozeman have represented a dynamic extension model and played a very important role in support local entrepreneurs. They have offered many services through their extension work. These include various kinds of training, consultation on spot, loan engagement etc. These cooperations have qualified staff and specific working agenda to reach out to their communities in the areas of business development. The cooperations have close relationship with government departments, universities, community organizations to implement their business plans. Especially, the Montana State University has extended a very compressive development plan to engage local extension agencies in Montana.
We had chance to visit several small entrepreneurs who did receive supports from local extension cooperations. All of them told impressive stories about their business successes thanks to the good work from local extension workers.
For us, this form of economic empowerment is very unique in US in general and in Montana in particular. We have provided with handy documents, materials and curricular which definitely will help us to bring home and start similar model in Vietnam.