Business Development Specialist - Southeast or Central Nebraska

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking a full-time Business Development Specialist to work in Southeast or Central Nebraska rural communities with aspiring and existing business owners.

The ideal candidate will be passionate about bringing resources that allow future and current business owners answers to their challenges regarding business ownership, starting and growing their business, and discovering tools that keep business ownership alive. They will provide start-up assistance, provide financial education, help to create marketing and sales strategy, and more. They will be committed to creating opportunities for economically diverse underserved members of rural Nebraska.

Who We Are

The Center for Rural Affairs is a dynamic, energetic non-profit organization working to build a better rural future for all. We’ve done this work for more than 48 years, and we do it from rural places. Our work creates opportunities for beginning farmers, new business owners, and first-time advocates. The Center’s work is fueled by our compassionate, mission-driven staff who work for the betterment of rural communities, stewardship, and the next generation. Additional information can be found at

What You’ll Do

The Business Development Specialist reports to the Women’s Business Center Director and works alongside other members of the team. You are responsible for the following:

  • You will manage a portfolio of clients providing direct business and financial coaching, assisting entrepreneurs in creating business plans, financial projections, and marketing strategies to aid in business launch and growth.
  • You will collaborate with Loan Specialists and contracted business consultants to identify and work with diverse clients, Spanish and English speaking, in need of business assistance throughout Nebraska.
  • You will deliver group training classes and webinars.
  • You will collaborate with the Women’s Center Directors and other Women’s Business Center Specialists to provide resource materials that are relevant, progressive, and industry specific.
  • You will be the trusted go-to person for resources, referrals, and brand awareness as you build relationships and partnerships across the state.

Who You Are & Keys to Success (the must-haves)

To be successful in this job, you will excel in five areas:

  • Relationship-building: You develop and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders and can bring in allies and coalition partners from marginalized communities statewide, such as people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families, military veterans, and immigrants. You know how to build alliances and find points of collaboration even when there are competing interests.
  • Drive to achieve results: You have a track record of accomplishing ambitious goals and getting results even when there are obstacles. You set a high bar and meet it, because you think three (or 30) steps ahead to anticipate hurdles and come up with pragmatic solutions. You plan backwards and involve stakeholders appropriately.
  • Inclusive leadership and management: You approach leadership with a mindset of “power with” rather than “power over” and regularly include others in decision-making. You seek out those who have experience to guide, advise, and plan how you approach the work.
  • Setting and managing priorities: You have experience managing multiple projects and keeping tasks from slipping through the cracks. You use resources wisely, and can provide clear direction to staff, partners, consultants, and volunteers to leverage time and talent for impact.
  • Commitment to racial equity and social justice: You recognize the role of race, income, age, immigration status, and other identities in addressing  disparities, and you consistently amplify community voices to advocate for more equitable policy solutions. You recognize how your own identities show up in the work, and welcome, reflect on, and act on feedback with an eye toward continuous learning about race, ability, and other lines of difference.

If you have the ability to speak and write in Spanish, this is valuable.

If you were here right now, you would be:

  • Coaching and training adult entrepreneurs the fundamentals of business practices.
  • Building and maintaining strong relationships with small business owners providing them with the support necessary to grow and maintain their business.
  • Building the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state working with and through local business owners, local governments, and other non-profit organizations.
  • Serving as the first person small business owners come to for technical support, creative approaches to problem-solving, and general business knowledge.

What Else You Should Know

This is a full-time non-exempt position based in southeastern or central Nebraska. This position will require frequent travel by car throughout the state to meet with communities and individuals, and include both overnight and out-of-state travel on occasion. This position has a salary range of $40,000-$50,000 with top-notch benefits that have a cash value of $10,000 to $29,500, depending on family status and tenure with the Center.

The Center for Rural Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify.

How to Apply

If you would like to work for an organization that has a national reputation as one of the top organizations in the country working to make rural communities more vibrant, apply by sending your resume, cover letter, and three professional references to In the cover letter, please include how your personal and/or professional experiences have positioned you for success in this role and any related work, skills, or expertise you want us to know about. Let us know how you heard about this position and why you want to work for the Center.