New Network to Connect Rural Businesses to Urban Businesses
This pilot is the result of a research project done by the Center staff two years ago that indicated that there is an opportunity for this type of model to work in rural areas. One of the keys to success of the small business piece is creation of a social network between the businesses as well as inclusion of community in the discussions to further that network.
Kathie Starkweather, head of the pilot project for the Center for Rural Affairs said, "We are so excited to bring this pilot project to Nebraska, especially in these times. It not only builds Nebraska's rural and urban economy, it also builds lasting ties between urban and rural entrepreneurs."
The UNO College of Information Science & Technology at the Peter Kiewit Institute is part of the project and will supply the technology resources. Students at the institute will work directly with the small businesses to assess their needs in order to enhance their success in this project.
The Center for Rural Affairs' Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) will fill the need for training, technical assistance, and where needed, micro-lending.
The project runs through December 2009. Funding is being pursued to ensure that the project can continue and be replicated in other locations in the state.
"This is an innovative project that we think will have an important impact that can be replicated in other locations in the state," commented Starkweather.
For further information contact Stephanie Fritz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 687-2103 ext. 1021. Informational meetings will be held early next year with dates to be determined.