Rural Business Academies

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May 05, 2022
Local First Arizona unveils full schedule of Rural Business Academies
Courses offer hands-on training and real-world application, especially focused on rural business needs, in digital marketing, customer experience, access to capital and talent recruitment.
PHOENIX (May 4, 2022) — Stepping into entrepreneurship is not easy, especially in rural communities across the state. Local First Arizona’s recently launched Rural Business Academy addresses these unique challenges through four virtual courses facilitated over six weeks with up to 12 participants. Each course is led by an expert in the field with opportunities to collaborate with peers and one-on-one with mentors. The goal for each course is to provide hands-on learning, real-world exercises, and take-home tools that strengthen each business where it’s needed most. 
Digital Marketing 
Participants will receive hands-on training on social media and digital marketing strategies that are key for rural businesses. The training covers SEO, Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Instagram and will help participants create a social media planning calendar.
Customer Experience & Attraction
This course will be customized for each participant, with areas of focus determined by a secret-shopper assessment initiated at the start of the cohort. Each participant will identify key performance indicators for their business and will receive a comprehensive customer experience plan with measurable objectives that can help guide/evaluate staff.
Access to Capital
A series of experts will guide participants through strategies to expand their business including access to capital, preparing and analyzing financial statements, and tax planning and preparation. At the conclusion of this cohort, businesses will walk away with a series of completed financial statements and an understanding of their business cash flow.
Talent Recruitment & Retention
Businesses will learn effective strategies for identifying and recruiting high-quality and adequately skilled employees - and proven methods to retain them. From this cohort, participants will walk away with a Recruitment & Retention plan customized for their business.
Thanks to community partners the Arizona Office of Tourism, Center for the Future of Arizona, Journey Payroll & HR, Northern Arizona University, and OneAZ Credit Union, Rural Business Academies through the end of 2022 will be available to participants for $99 per course. Each course includes six classes.
Upcoming Rural Business Academies include: 
      May 11 - June 15
Payson: Talent Recruitment & Retention
Wickenburg: Customer Experience & Attraction 
      June 22 - July 27
Winslow: Digital Marketing
Mohave County: Access to Capital
      August 10 - September 14
Pinal County: Digital Marketing
Mohave County: Digital Marketing

      September 21 - October 26
Mohave County: Talent Recruitment & Retention
      November 2 - December 14
Mohave County: Customer Experience & Attraction
Interested businesses and communities can learn more about the courses and eligibility criteria at or email Katie Boddy at
Katie Boddy

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