Building Entrepreneurial Communities in the New Year

When the Nebraska Legislature convenes in January they will make important decisions about the future of rural Nebraska.
One program up for debate is the successful Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act. The program makes grants to rural communities to support entrepreneurship, leadership development, youth engagement and local philanthropy - four proven strategies of rural community revitalization.

In this time of economic downturn there is no better way to invest our limited state dollars than programs that look towards the future and build a more robust and resilient economy in our small towns.
Albion and Fullerton are two communities that have primary goals for successful long term development to attract and retain youth for new businesses and small business transition.
Both towns used Building Entrepreneurial Communities funds to send 30 high school students to the 2008 Nebraska MarketPlace, an event focused on energizing small businesses and rural communities. These students gained valuable knowledge and tools needed to improve or start their own business successfully. They were able to take what they learned at MarketPlace and utilize that knowledge in their communities.

Our Nebraska Senators made a wise choice in 2007 when they doubled funding for this program to $500,000. Still, in 2008 the demand for the program far exceeded the limited funds available even with that increase.

With demand growing for the program, a growing need and demonstrated success, Nebraska Senators should act proactively to continue support for this program at least $500,000 annually.

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