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MESSAGE TO SMALL BUSINESSES: COOPERATE AND COMPETE

 KNOXVILLE, Tenn., June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Although cooperation and competition may sound like opposite approaches, they are in fact essential elements in a new formula for success for an increasing number of small, independent manufacturers scattered across the rural landscape of the South.
 These small and medium-sized companies are forging strong links with each other to gain knowledge, achieve economies of scale, acquire technologies and resources, and enter markets that otherwise would be beyond their reach, says Stuart Rosenfeld, president of Regional Technology Strategies, Inc., in Chapel Hill, N.C.
 Writing in the current edition of "Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy," a quarterly journal published by the University of Tennessee's Energy, Environment, and Resources Center and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Rosenfeld cites several examples of what he calls "manufacturing networks."
 For example, he says, a group of hosiery firms in the Catawba Valley of North Carolina have jointly supported development of computerized production monitoring systems. In the Florida Panhandle, 30 small defense contractors have formed an alliance to purchase common parts, bid together on contracts, and share ideas. In Magnolia, Ark., more than 50 metals firms have established a "metalworking connection" and together have reduced insurance and employee-benefit costs, designed a joint apprenticeship training program, and begun to jointly market their capabilities.
 The birth of "manufacturing networks" took place in the Emilia- Romagna region of northern Italy, where more than 40,000 small artisan manufactures joined together to produce or market goods or support needed services, Rosenfeld says. The networks helped lift the region from poverty to the seventh most prosperous region in Europe in only two decades, he adds.
 In the United States, private-sector networking takes many forms -- for example, trade associations, cooperatives, and joint ventures, Rosenfeld reports. It also is becoming an important part of the economic development strategies in many states.
 "President Clinton, while governor of Arkansas, traveled to northern Italy and learned about networks first hand. He supported a pilot program in Arkansas, assigned his technology agency to manage the program, and personally signed certificates of graduation from the first group of network brokers," Rosenfeld says.
 "Forum" is available at $9 per copy or $28 per year ($36 for institutions) from the Center for Energy, Environment, and Resources, University of Tennessee, 327 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996-0710.
 -0- 6/21/93
 /CONTACT: Daniel Schaffer, Energy, Environment, and Resources Center, University of Tennessee, 615-974-4251/


CO: University of Tennessee ST: Tennessee IN: FIN SU:

CM-MM -- CH006 -- 4102 06/21/93 14:53 EDT
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Date:Jun 21, 1993
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