By Elisha Greeley Smith, email@example.com, Center for Rural Affairs
Many rural communities in Nebraska are suffering from depopulation and depressed economies. But some of our communities are looking for and finding solutions to those challenges. The Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act (BECA) program, administered by the Nebraska Rural Development Commission and Department of Economic Development (DED), was created by the 2005 Legislature to assist those entrepreneurial rural communities.
Funded at $250,000 per year, BECA is a grant process for communities and counties seeking to collaborate on economic and entrepreneurial development. DED is initiating a second application process to combine the remainder of this year's funding and 2007 funding, for a total of $360,000 in available funds.
The purpose of BECA is to support rural communities that are struggling economically through grants for entrepreneurial development initiatives that generate and retain wealth in the community and region.
The rules are fairly simple – grants can be used for education and technical support for small business development or to facilitate small business transfers, build leadership, retain and attract youth, or retain intergenerational transfer of wealth. Grants will be provided to two or more towns or counties that collaborate on a BECA project, and at least one of the collaborating communities must demonstrate chronic economic distress (e.g. above average unemployment, below average per capita income or severe historical population loss). The next application is August 1, 2006.
BECA is new, and some communities that applied before were not funded. But this is a tremendous opportunity for rural communities with an entrepreneurial spirit. If interested, give us a call. 402-687-2103