MarketPlace Once Again a Success

Over 550 people gathered in Columbus, Nebraska, on February 27, 2008, for the Center for Rural Affairs’ second annual Marketplace: Opening Doors to Success. It’s the only entrepreneurial conference of its kind in Nebraska and surrounding states.

Wyatt Fraas, far left, hosts a "table topic" discussion during lunch. Photo courtesy of Rhea Landholm of Sheldon, Iowa.
Entrepreneurs, business owners, service providers, students, teachers, farmers, ranchers, and many others of all ages took part. Participants came from over seven states including California, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Over 72 counties and 126 towns were represented at this year’s conference.

Whether interested in starting or improving a business, a farming operation, agri-tourism, or community development, MarketPlace had something for everyone. There were over 28 training opportunities in 7 tracks including: business development, technology, financing, community, marketing, agriculture, and Hispanic business development (with sessions available in Spanish).

Over 50 exhibit booths were filled with successful small businesses, service providers, and other conference sponsors. Attendees had the opportunity to meet with experts in many fields – attorneys, CPA’s, web designers, etc. The excited buzz from the exhibit hall indicated that lots of networking was taking place, one of the main goals of the MarketPlace.

Rural America is facing many challenges. The purpose of MarketPlace is to address these challenges by creating connections and sharing information that people across rural America can use to create a better future for their communities, their families, and themselves.

The 3rd Annual Marketplace Conference will be held on February 25, 2009, at the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte, Nebraska. Those with an interest should keep their calendars open for that day and register early as spots filled up fast this year. Watch this newsletter for more details.

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