Pulaski County and partners to present rural help project to United Nations in Geneva

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) It's been 8 months since Pulaski County Was chosen as a pilot town to test out a one of a kind project.

WDBJ7 was there as the County teamed up with the White House to announce The Opportunity Project.

With the help of a group in Estonia, the project makes data about small towns and counties more accessible and understandable.

Now the county, along with the groups partnered in the project, will present their success to the United Nations. That way it can be used around the world.

Dwindling population, less money being spent, and shops closed throughout Downtown Pulaski. These are all problems the website FindYour.Town could solve.

County Economic Development Director Michael Solomon explained, "We have a fantastic story to tell and we have a fantastic quality of life and this website helps us tell that story."

The site takes data like income and living rates and presents it all in a basic way.

Now, Pulaski County is working to get more exposure on the site.

"We've been meeting with the U.S. Department of Commerce, because rural development very important to them," Solomon said. "We've talked to USDA about, 'Hey can you get this website out through your offices?' We've had some great discussions with them about that."

Monday, the site will be presented to more than 100 countries at the United Nations in Geneva.

It's being hosted by Estonia, as a company there, Datel Ovela, developed the site that can now be offered to any country's rural areas.

Carl Puccis is the Chief Operating Officer for Datel Ovela. He spoke with WDBJ7 over the phone Thursday from Estonia.

He explained, "Instead of Washington or Paris or Moscow telling these communities what to do to become more developed or advanced, they are able to decide and push their way through the envelope."

In fact, Pucci said there's already a country, Tunisia, that wants Find Your Town.

They'll be at the U-N Monday too.

"What Pulaski did is a model for them and they will be speaking to how they can use their open data and their government to support their rural communities," Pucci said.

Solomon added, "It's a testimony to the work ethic and the type of people we have that we're being able to be held up as a standard."

Solomon also said he hopes the plan for spreading the site around will be developed this Summer, and real growth be in Pulaski County by the end of the year.

The presentation will be at 2:30, Geneva time, after the Opening of the World Summit on Information Society

It's expected we'll be able to see this presentation streaming online Monday.