3rd Annual Small Business Conference MarketPlace: Opening Doors to Success

The Center for Rural Affairs is again presenting MarketPlace, a premier rural small business and entrepreneurship event. If you’re interested in learning essential business skills, discovering new ideas for your business and community, and networking with service providers and other entrepreneurs, you’ll want to attend. Best of all, you’ll come away equipped with strategies on how to grow or start your business.

The event takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 at the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Educational tracks include sessions on marketing, agriculture, business development, community development, Hispanic entrepreneurship, and technology. For a full look at this year’s program, visit www.cfra.org/marketplace/home.

Three pre-conference sessions are being offered this year on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 24 at Mid-Plains Community College. These focus on marketing, media and promotion; think tanks and incubators for a community; and risk management.

REAP members may also want to display their products in the Nebraska MarketPlace Store. The store is a cooperative effort between the Center for Rural Affairs’ MarketPlace and GROW Nebraska, which will provide vendors with retail space, staffing and pay sales tax. Store participants can take advantage of the day’s sessions and network with other professionals. To find out more about this opportunity, visit www.cfra.org/marketplace/store. The store registration deadline is February 1, so check it out right away!

The exhibit hall will be filled with booths that offer the best in entrepreneurial services and/or products. Experts in many supporting fields will also be on hand to answer attendee questions and network. In these challenging economic times, knowing what services are available to help small businesses and rural communities may be one of the most valuable elements. Exhibit space is still available. Find out more at www.cfra.org/marketplace/exhibits.

Early bird registration for the conference runs until February 11, 2009. Spots are limited, so act soon to reserve your spot. Early-bird registration for individuals is $35, $60 after. For guests, teachers and students it is $25; $50 after the 11th. (The cost of the pre-conference is also $35 before Feb. 11 and $60 after.)

For quick and secure registration, visit http://www.cfra.org/marketplace/home/registration. You will find a link to the University of Nebraska Center for Applied Rural Innovation. CARI is again providing online registration for the conferences.

The Center for Rural Affairs has many other partners in bringing this event to Nebraska. These include USDA Rural Development, CHS Foundation, Nebraska Enterprise Fund, State Farm Insurance, Dept. of Economic Development, Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, and CARI. For a full list of sponsors, see www.cfra.org/marketplace/sponsors. We are grateful to each for their commitment in helping Nebraska’s rural economy grow from within.

Contact: Joy Marshall, joym@cfra.org or 402.614.5558 for more information.