UNC Pembroke's Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development is offering Internet services for businesses, governments and individuals.
A little over a year ago, the Regional Center created www.uncpembroke.net to build and to maintain Web sites for a variety of clients.
The Robeson County Board of Commissioners, the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce, a hardware store, a doctor's office, a world-class strongman and a gospel group are customers of the new service.
The Regional Center saw a need for small business development through the Internet, but no local company offered the service. With Fayetteville-based Web hosting company Advanced Internet Technologies, Inc., (AIT) as a partner, the new service got started, said Regional Center Director Sylvia Pate.
"The idea began with a workshop we offered on e-commerce, which is doing business and marketing on the Internet," Pate said. "We found that there was no local company to put small businesses on the Web."
"We are filling that void by offering this service," Pate said. "Web hosting is now a valuable and growing part of our outreach mission into the communities we serve."
Reggie Oxendine, a UNCP computing consultant, is heading up www.uncpembroke.net.
"Our service of designing, hosting and maintaining Web sites is in the start-up phase," Oxendine said. "It is going smoothly, and interest is picking up."
Getting a business started on the Web is easy and affordable, Oxendine said.
For a small Web site (5-6 pages) with low maintenance and 10 email accounts, customers can be on the Internet in about three weeks at a cost of $25 a month. The cost to add "shopping carts" and other business transactions is additional.
"We will also apply for an Internet name and submit the Web site to the leading search engines," Oxendine said.
For Robeson County, which had an aging Web site, www.uncpembroke.net expanded and upgraded the site, Pate said.
"We got a small grant to broaden the scope of their Web site with the goal of conducting some online transactions, such as downloading forms," Pate said.
The Regional Center's new Web hosting service is poised to take off, Pate said.
To learn more about UNCP's Web hosting service, call 910.522.8410 or go to www.uncpembroke.net.