Rural Online Initiative

E-Commerce Accelerator

Business Mentoring Service

The E-Commerce Accelerator (ECA) is a program that helps small businesses in rural Utah grow through online sales. It was created as part of the Rural Online Initiative (ROI), a program of Utah State University Extension. The ECA is designed to assist agricultural and rural businesses by providing personalized training to navigate the digital world and increase sales revenue through e-commerce.

What is the ECA?

The ECA Mentoring Service offers a comprehensive six-week program that includes individual meetings with business consultants, tailored mentoring services, and milestone check-ins to assist in giving small businesses a strong start in e-commerce. The service covers various aspects of establishing an online presence, such as website development, online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and performance monitoring and optimization.

This service gives you access to professional business consultants for six weeks. In that time, your business will hit specific milestones that will launch your business into e-commerce.

Meet the Team

Paul Hill Headshot

Paul Hill

Program Director


Dominic Bria Headshot

Dominic Bria

Associate Director


Abbey Bean, Business Consultant for the E-Commerce Accelerator

Abbey Bean

Business Consultant


Jacob Webb, Business Consultant for the E-Commerce Accelerator

Jacob Webb

Business Consultant



Service Information

This service has been fully funded by the Utah Legislature as a three-year pilot beginning July 1, 2023. It is completely free to selected rural Utah small businesses.

This program accepts two to three new businesses per month. Complete an application to get started!

Week 1: Business Assessment

  • Initial consultation with the client to understand their goals, products/services, target audience, and resources.
  • Evaluation of the client's current online presence, including social media profiles and online listings.
  • Research on competitors and market trends to identify opportunities and challenges.
  • Development of a customized roadmap with recommendations for establishing an online presence.

Milestone 1: Custom roadmap complete, including recommendations for digital tools.

Week 2: Website Development

  • Discussion of the customized roadmap with the client and prioritization of recommendations.
  • Market analysis to identify effective online marketing channels.
  • Collaboration with the client to select the right website platform.
  • Creation of a website plan, including content strategy and design elements.
  • Optimization of website content for better visibility and user experience.

Milestone 2: Sales website is completed and live.

Week 3: Application Integration

  • Integrate cross platform selling onto websites.
  • Introduction and set up of API’s to help the business grow and compete online.
  • Overview of e-commerce tracking and reporting to monitor online sale performance.
  • Set up automated email marketing campaigns, such as abandoned cart recovery or post-
    purchase follow-ups.

Milestone 3: Applicable API's are set up and cross platform selling is functional.

Week 4: Online Marketing

  • Development of an online marketing strategy tailored to the client's target audience, budget, and goals.
  • Setup of new social media profiles and email marketing campaigns and optimization of any existing social media presence and email marketing campaigns.
  • Creation of a content marketing plan with engaging and compelling content.
  • Examples and guidance on creating content that resonates with the target audience.

Milestone 4: Online marketing strategy and content marketing plan delivered to the client.

Week 5: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Keyword research to find relevant keywords for products/services.
  • Optimization of website content and meta tags based on identified keywords.
  • Implementation of technical SEO best practices.
  • Optimization of Google My Business profile for local SEO (if applicable).
  • Guidance on creating and optimizing content for better SEO performance.

Milestone 5: SEO implementation completed, and website optimized for search engines.

Week 6: Performance Monitoring and Optimization

  • Review of website and online marketing performance data.
  • Analysis of sales data and customer feedback for optimization.
  • Guidance on interpreting and using performance data for improvement.
  • Final consultation to review progress and provide recommendations for ongoing growth.
  • Recommendations for external web development and marketing support.

Milestone 6: Final consultation and recommendations delivered to the small business owner.

By the end of the six-week mentoring experience, clients will have gained the knowledge, digital tools, and skills to effectively manage online sales and customer relationships. The program aims to help businesses grow and thrive in the digital world.

Participation in the E-Commerce Accelerator Mentoring Service is supervised by our two business consultants. They will guide you through the process of expanding your business online.

Please note that the ECA Mentoring Service does not cover certain aspects, such as physical website hosting, custom logos, and legal or financial advice. However, it offers examples and guidance on these topics to help businesses move forward independently.


The focus of this program is to diversify rural small businesses. The qualifying factors are: if your business has a storefront, exists within a rural community, and you have a product that is already selling.

We recommend setting aside about 10-12 hours/week that are fully dedicated to setting up your business for e-commerce.

Because this program is completely free to all rural Utah businesses, we can work with businesses of any size. We know that every business is unique and recommend you set aside the amount you think you could comfortably use to market your business and pay for software.

This service is fully funded by Utah legislature specifically for rural Utah businesses. Though we can not help you, there are plenty of resources in each state to help businesses thrive. We recommend looking into your state's landgrant university for further assistance!

We recognize that not all businesses are ready to navigate the world of e-commerce and encourage you to reach out to your nearest Utah Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance in the areas that your business needs improvement. Please come back and apply here when you feel ready!

Success Stories