A USDA Fund for Rural America project is creating economic opportunities for small agricultural and rural businesses in the Lower Mississippi Delta by assisting in e-commerce business development. Select rural businesses are provided technical support in web site development, marketing strategy formulation, electronic retailing services, and space on a secure server for one year. Businesses retaining web sites after this time assume responsibility for maintaining and funding the site. Characteristics of rural businesses adopting e-commerce are compared with those not adopting. Preliminary results suggest the amount of time invested in initial web site design, satisfaction with design, economic benefits from owning a web site, and number of levels traveled in the e-commerce roadmap (a measure of technological progress) as determinants of success. These findings will assist in selecting and guiding participant involvement to maximize the likelihood of success.

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