Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Nebraska Can Grow From Within - Opinion - The Kearney Hub

Best strategy: Nebraska can grow economy from inside

Editorial by The Kearney Hub

Nebraskans generally aren’t shy about heavy labor, but where economic development is concerned, sometimes it pays to give the back muscles a rest and put the brain to work.

That could be one of the ideas behind an event the Center for Rural Affairs is planning later this month at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Working with several partners, the Center will stage what it’s calling a Marketplace for Entrepreneurs.

The Marketplace idea is patterned after a North Dakota event that’s been attracting 7,000 people for the past 17 years. The Marketplace is based on the belief that small towns must look within for economic development, not count on business recruitment or outside investment.

We agree with the Center for Rural Affairs’ assessment.

Local businesses that take bold and creative initiatives are far more likely to expand and improve local economies than are outside investors. Towns that wait for a big factory to come along might as well be scratching lottery tickets. The real payout is in helping locally successful businesses to become even more successful.

Recent trends in Nebraska suggest an increasing emphasis on growing from within.

Last year’s legislative overhaul of the state’s flagship economic development law, LB775, included a number of incentives for rural development, including ways to boost rural entrepreneurship. In addition, the formation of several regional resource conservation and development councils recognizes the need to connect the innovators and risk-takers with the resources they need to turn their business dreams into reality.

The Marketplace for Entrepreneurs planned at UNK will be about connections, giving participants a chance to learn about some of the public and private resources that can help with their business plans.

We appreciate the Center for Rural Affairs’ efforts in bringing together the Marketplace for Entrepreneurs. Nebraskans need an event where they can generate ideas for agricultural diversification, value-added agriculture diversification, small businesses, home-based businesses, marketing skills and stronger communities.

For the hard workers out there who are bothered by the idea of taking a day off to attend the Marketplace, we suggest looking upon your participation as a working vacation.

While your back rests, your brain can do the lifting.

Entrepreneurs Welcome

The Center for Rural Affairs’ Marketplace for Entrepreneurs is planned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The meeting will have 14 teach-in sessions focused on agricultural, business and rural issues. The meeting is free, but there will be a $10 charge for lunch and refreshments. More information is available by calling Elisha Greeley Smith at the Center for Rural Affairs, 402-687-2103 or sending e-mail to

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


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