Research/Entrepreneurship/

Rural Community Serviceship Program

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2013 Summary The Rural Community Serviceship project is a mash-up between service-learning and a professional internship. Through the Serviceship program, college students have the opportunity to serve as an intern for a community as opposed to a …

Teaching & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The Rural Community Serviceship project is a mash-up between service-learning and a professional internship. Through the Serviceship program, college students have the opportunity to serve as an intern for a community as opposed to a company. Students are sent out in groups of two to rural Nebraska communities to help local community leaders execute a locally identified project. Students are also expected to participate in community service activities outside of their Serviceship project.

This program provides an interdisciplinary, partnership delivery system that focuses on issues identified by the community coupled with the infusion of innovative, entrepreneurial student teams tasked with building workable solutions in concert with university faculty and specialists alongside community leaders and mentors. The combination of discipline, community engagement and leadership training/experience creates human capacity and opens the door for active recruitment of new graduates and young professionals into the fabric of a rural community.

Impacts

Since 2013 when the Rural Serviceship began, 40 University of Nebraska students have been placed in communities across Nebraska to complete 21 projects. In 2018, the project has ramped up and 27 students will be placed in rural communities working on 14 projects.

Project Team

  • Thomas Field (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Lindsay Hastings (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Human Resources Institute
  • Reshell Ray (co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Student Involvement

 

Partners

  • Linda Major, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Office of Student Involvement
  • Linda Moody, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Center for Civic Engagement
  • Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Nebraska Human Resources Institute
  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR)
  • Milan Wall, Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Kurt Mantonya, Heartland Center for Leadership Development

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    Rural Community Serviceship Program
    Sept. 22, 2016 | West Point, NE
  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    Rural Community Serviceship Program
    October 14, 2014 | Scottsbluff, NE
  • RFI Rural Regional Forum
    Rural Community Serviceship Program
    October 9, 2014 | Broken Bow, NE
  • Heartland Campus Compact Conference
    Rural Futures Serviceship and Internship Project
    October 2-3, 2014 | Lincoln, NE

Media Coverage


Contact: Thomas Field, tfield2@unl.edu

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Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013     Summary The viability of rural communities in Nebraska depends upon economic growth. Economic development is a policy objective of local governments. Business recruitment has been the primary strategy for most government officials and economic …

Research & Engagement, 2013


 

 

Summary

The viability of rural communities in Nebraska depends upon economic growth. Economic development is a policy objective of local governments. Business recruitment has been the primary strategy for most government officials and economic development professionals since at least the 1950s. This study looks at an alternative strategy that has been successful for some communities.

The Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development research project was designed to determine if an alternative form of economic development could be successful. The alternative form would continue to recognize the importance of primary employment but it would suggest that branch plants are not the only path to primary employment. It would also assert that secondary businesses are important to the health and quality of life of a community. In an Internet age, communities will come to rely on attractive secondary businesses to keep a community together by contributing to its quality of life.

Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development (EBED) is a study of 16 Nebraska communities. Six micropolitan communities (10,000 to 50,000 population) were studied and 10 smaller communities. These communities are distributed across Nebraska so that they represent similar communities in Nebraska and in other high plains states. The study sought to determine the differences in success of communities in encouraging employer small businesses in both primary and secondary industries. Employer small businesses were defined in the study to be businesses with at least five but fewer than 50 employees.
 

Impacts

Seven communities were found to have statistically significant success in encouraging the growth of employer small businesses. These included three micropolitan communities (Columbus, Kearney and North Platte) and four small communities (Hartington, Holdrege, Imperial and O’Neill). It is widely believed that location near Interstate 80 is necessary for economic development success but Columbus, Hartington, Imperial and O’Neill are not near Interstate 80.

All 16 of the communities studied were found to have similar taxation levels, utility costs, professional resources, bank branches, labor costs and real estate costs. The available resources and costs of doing business, then, could not explain variance in the success of encouraging employer small businesses.

Those communities that did not have a robust and growing base of employer small businesses were found to have lost the dynamic of local land use speculators and local economic growth-dependent ownership. Many communities have the problem of absentee ownership as a result of inheritance of commercial buildings. These owners are necessarily not as involved in promoting the growth of the community. Successful communities have occupancy rules that require periodic reinvestment in the physical infrastructure or that encourage new developments that move the commercial core of the community.

Communities with at least one bank headquartered in the local market did better than other communities. It is presumed that this is because commercial lending is important to employer small businesses. Commercial lending is not a central concern of most banks. Commercial borrowers at multi-state banks are competing for funding with other businesses over a wide geography.

Communities that used LB 840 specifically to support employer small business development did better in encouraging those kinds of businesses than did communities that used LB 840 funds for business recruitment.

Owners of employer small businesses were most likely to have developed their interest in business ownership as a career choice because of the influence of a parent or mentor. Many of the most successful and stable small business employers were in the second generation of ownership. The second generation owners may be but are not always within a family. Some businesses were passed down to employees or persons looking to invest in a small enterprise. Communities need to facilitate business transition.

Based on the findings of this research, the U.S. Small Business Administration provided funding of $58,416 to conduct an on-site business consultation project in Lexington, Nebraska. The on-site project occurred in October 2016. It involved nine businesses in Lexington. A report and strategic plan was provided to each participating business. A final report was provided to the Dawson Economic Development Corporation, the Lexington Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lexington.
 

Project Team

  • Robert Bernier (PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Business Administration
  • Roni Reiter-Palmon (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, Psychology
  • Erin Pleggenkuhle-Miles (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Business Administration
  • Brian Mennecke (Co-PI), Iowa State University, Management Information Systems
  • Anthony Townsend (Co-PI), Iowa State University, Management Information Systems
  • Don Macke (Co-PI), Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Sarah McMillan (Co-PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Business Development Center

 

Partners

  • Alexis Winder, Main Street Beatrice
  • Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Connie Hancock, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Marilyn Schlake, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Travis Haggard, Ogallala Economic Development
 

  • Sharon Hueftle, South Central Economic Development District
  • Rose Jasperson, Nebraska Enterprise Fund
  • Glenna Phelps Aurich, Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce
  • Rex Nelson, McCook Economic Development Corporation
  • Michael Burge, Valentine/Cherry County Economic Development Board

Publications

  • Bernier, R.E. (2015). “Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Nebraska.” Policy Briefs, Nebraska Legislative Planning Committee 2015 Report, December 2015.
  • Bernier, R.E., McMillan, S., Pleggenkuhle-Miles, E., Mennecke, B., Townsend, A., Macke, D., and Bhatt, P. Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development: A report to the Rural Futures Institute. February, 2015.
  • Bernier, Robert, “Small business and entrepreneurship in Nebraska” (2015).White Papers. 9.
  • Bernier, R. E. (2014). “Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development, A Conceptual Framework.’ Proceedings, United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, September 2014.

 

Presentations

  • United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference
    Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development
    January 24, 2015 | Tampa, FL
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development
    October 14, 2014| Scottsbluff, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development
    September 30, 2014| Nebraska City, NE

Contact: Robert Bernier, rbernier@unomaha.edu

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Communities Creating Their Own Innovation & Entrepreneurship

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013 Summary The Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP) is a holistic facilitative process with the goals of attracting and retaining working age population and creating entrepreneurial environments that lead to community vitality. The ECAP project will engage …

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP) is a holistic facilitative process with the goals of attracting and retaining working age population and creating entrepreneurial environments that lead to community vitality. The ECAP project will engage community members to provide feedback and identify benchmarks which can be used to measure the changes occurring in their community. The ultimate long-term goal of this project is to help rural communities build capacity for long-term sustainable change through the implementation of entrepreneurial strategies related to the eight characteristics of entrepreneurial communities. The eight characteristics are:

  • Community Vision
  • Culture of Change
  • Leadership
  • Sense of Place
  • Infrastructure
  • Digitally Connected
  • Education/Workforce IQ
  • Entrepreneurial Support Systems

 

Impacts

The ECAP process brought together leaders and community members. Over 300 people participated in conversations to determine seven communities’ futures. Additionally, over 2200 people provided input through the discovery tool process. In each of the communities efforts/projects were identified to become more entrepreneurial. By engaging in ECAP, communities position themselves for success.

Communities identified efforts/projects to become more entrepreneurial. Examples include:

  • Development of 308 Networking that brings young adults together to network and connect to the community.
  • Community-wide web portal launched that brings together 8 governmental and community organizations to increase communication by sharing information, calendars and events.
  • Seed funding identified to create an economic development corporation.
  • Community-wide vision created.
  • Youth identified county-wide sand volleyball league for all ages to encourage unity.

Good organization is important to the success of the ECAP process. Keys to success that were identified by the communities include:

  • Forming a Steering Team
  • Using an Outside Facilitator
  • Getting People to the Conversations
  • Creating and Sharing a Vision
  • Keeping People Engaged
  • Documenting the Process
  • Maintaining the Momentum
  • Celebrating Success

Bringing together diverse community leaders through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process builds capacity in eight vital areas of community development. Starting with the ECAP Discovery Tool, community members engaged in conversation, identified priorities and created action plans. ECAP was successful at engaging communities in conversation that in turn led to community ownership. The overall process was strengthened through continual community feedback.

Project Team

  • Charlotte Narjes (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Phyllis Schoenholz (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Nancy Eberle (Co-PI), (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Diane Vigna (Co-PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education & Human Sciences
  • Dennis Kahl, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • David Ulferts, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Rebecca Vogt, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Carroll Welte, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Jessica Jones, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Christina Bartels, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Mary Emery, South Dakota State University, Sociology and Rural Studies
  • Gary Hamer, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development
  • Roger Meeks, USDA Rural Development
  • Rick Nelsen, Nebraska Public Power District – Economic Development
  • Keith Ellis, Nebraska Public Power District – Economic Development
  • Tim O’Brien, Nebraska Department of Economic Development
  • Milan Wall, Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Odee Ingersoll, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Business Development Center

 

Publications

 

Presentations

  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Exploring Community Readiness to Build Capacity
    June 11-14, 2017 | Big Sky, Montana
  • Michigan Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference
    Creating Entrepreneurial Communities
    October 5-6, 2016 | Port Huron, MI
  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference
    Creating Resilient Communities through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process
    June 26-29, 2016 | Burlington, VT
  • Nebraska Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference
    Creating Entrepreneurial Communities
    April 19-20, 2016 | McCook, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute National Conference
    Creating Hope and Inspiring Vision in Communities through the Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process
    October 21-23, 2015 | Lincoln, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    September 30, 2014 | Nebraska City, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    October 9, 2014 | Broken Bow, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Communities Creating Their Own Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    October 14, 2014 | Scottsbluff, NE

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Charlotte Narjes, cnarjes1@unl.edu

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Rural Community Career Development

December 5, 2017
Teaching & Engagement, 2015 Summary The original intent of this project was to use an established curriculum that had been piloted in one community and replicate it in additional communities. The goal was to familiarize students with the entrepreneurial concepts …

Teaching & Engagement, 2015


Summary

The original intent of this project was to use an established curriculum that had been piloted in one community and replicate it in additional communities. The goal was to familiarize students with the entrepreneurial concepts to help their rural communities maintain or rebuild their economic viability. The end goal was to sustain rural communities, thereby slowing the decline of population. The partnering of students with mentors within the community before leaving for college exposes students to career opportunities and the potential for returning upon completing their education. The curriculum helped students discover a positive outlook on the future and explore the changes they may encounter as an owner or manager in their home community.

 

Impacts

During the first year, the Rural Community Career Development course was taught at Bertrand High School. During this time, the original Principal Investigator on the project resigned from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA), creating a delay in the completion of the second year of the project.

A new NCTA faculty member was recruited to continue the work of the project. The new PI modified the project to focus more directly on entrepreneurship in an attempt to combat a challenge many rural communities face – that of youth departing to attend college and not returning. Project Economic Gardening (PEG) was offered at Maywood High School and then the course culminated by attendance at a day-long Entrepreneurship Camp at NCTA.

Special focus included:

  • Developing knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurial spirit
  • Providing experience in developing strategic partnerships
  • Developing strategies and methods for leveraging nexus between innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Engaging the youth to build leadership and fostering philanthropy

Project Team

  • Mary Rittenhouse (PI), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
  • Krystle Friesen (former PI), formerly at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

Partners

  • Karl Shaddock, Nebraska Community Foundation
  • Bertrand Community Foundation
  • Bertrand High School
  • Paxton Schools
  • Maywood High School

 

Contact: Mary Rittenhouse, mrittenhouse2@unl.edu

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Enhancing Nebraska’s Ecotourism Industry

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016 Summary This project intends to fill important gaps that exist in knowledge, assistance, and training about ecotourism. It will identify expectations and standards of successful international ecotourism and disseminate them through active engagement with actual and …

Research & Engagement, 2016


Summary

This project intends to fill important gaps that exist in knowledge, assistance, and training about ecotourism. It will identify expectations and standards of successful international ecotourism and disseminate them through active engagement with actual and potential Nebraska entrepreneurs and providers.

Research, using field sites in Namibia, will focus on international best practices and expectations; other research will explore legal liability; sustainability; regional branding; and enterprise business planning. Engagement will utilize the recently-created Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition to reach out to existing and potential ecotourism providers, organize two ecotourism workshops, several “green lodging workshops, and a major conference at UNK in 2018 called “Ecotourism in the Great Plains.”

This project will help Nebraska’s emerging industry grow into world leaders in private-lands ecotourism; we will see new businesses and jobs created, greater conservation of wildlife and habitat on private lands, and increases in the jobs, incomes, and quality of life of participating landowners and rural communities.

Impacts

This project has been a major factor in The Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska becoming known nationally as a source in Great Plains ecotourism. Because of this project, the Center has been interviewed for publications outside the Great Plains (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Progressive Farmer, Johns Hopkins University).

Over the course of this project, two ecotourism workshops were held in Chadron and Red Cloud. These workshops shared best practices and highlighted the benefits of ecotourism to the region.

The ecotourism booklets featuring the ecotourism posters and their essays will be one of the prizes for the 2018 Nebraska Passport program, reaching around 2,000 people.

As with many conferences, the lasting impact tends to be connections made. Whether it’s drawing connections between nature, conservation, rural life, and the economy in people’s minds (one of our goals) or creating connections between people through the networking at the conference. We met many people who are the ‘boots on the ground’ in these communities. It’s these people who will make the difference for nature tourism, rural life, and conservation in the future. We’ll keep the conversation with these folks going into the future through our website, social media, and monthly newsletter. We’ll continue to solicit feedback, to plug into new trends, and to talk about why the Great Plains deserves to visited, conserved, and enriched.

Project Team

  • Richard Edwards (PI), Director, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Larkin Powell (Co-PI), Professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Katie Nieland (Co-PI), Assistant Director, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Sarah Sortum (Co-PI), Rancher, Calamus Outfitters/Switzer Ranch Management Team
  • Anthony Schutz (Co-PI), Associate Professor, College of Law, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Partners

  • Charles Bicak, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Academic/Student Affairs
  • Nils Odendaal, Namibrand Nature Reserve, Namibia
  • Richard Yoder, University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Business
  • Viktoria Keding, Namib Desert Environmental Trust, Namibia
  • Peter Longo, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Natural & Social Sciences
  • Larry Swanson, University of Montana, O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

 

Contact: Richard Edwards, redwards@unl.edu

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Rural Prosperity Research Project

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2016     Summary The purpose of this project is to build the capacity of a cohort of rural communities to effectively create conditions for a more prosperous future by: Increasing economic opportunities that contribute to the …

Research & Engagement, 2016

 


 

Summary

The purpose of this project is to build the capacity of a cohort of rural communities to effectively create conditions for a more prosperous future by:

  • Increasing economic opportunities that contribute to the creation of businesses, jobs and careers;
  • Building up community assets that support a high quality of life; and
  • Attracting and keeping people to achieve demographic renewal.

This project applies a systems approach designed to achieve systemic change. The community engagement framework focuses on the “three essentials” of demographic renewal, increasing economic opportunity and improving quality of life place making. The research team focuses on the three outcome areas of the project (demographic renewal, economic opportunity and place making) and works to study the impacts of three tracks of research:

  • Indicators of systemic change (both long-term and short-term),
  • Coaching capabilities, and
  • Champions and engagement.

 

Impacts

Baseline Community Profiles are created for each community/region that participates in this project. The profiles are intended to stimulate deeper conversations around longer-term demographic and economic opportunities.

Work is now under way to explore how to integrate activities central to this work within the overall programmatic activities of Nebraska Extension’s Community Vitality Initiative programming. The Prosperity Communities team is exploring how to integrate other Extension projects – Marketing Hometown America, Entrepreneurial Communities Activation Process (ECAP), and Community Readiness programs.

 

Project Team

  • Chuck Hibberd (PI), Dean, Extension, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Connie Hancock (Co-PI), Community Vitality Extension Educator, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • L.J. McElravy (Co-PI), Youth Civic Leadership, Agricultural Leadership & Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

Partners

  • Randy Cantrell (RFI Fellow), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Rural Futures Institute
  • Lindsay Hastings, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Human Resources Institute
  • Kim Wilson (RFI Fellow), University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Landscape Architecture Program
  • David Drozd, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Center for Public Affairs Research
  • Don Macke (RFI Fellow), Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Deborah Markley, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Milan Wall (RFI Fellow), Heartland Center for Leadership Development
  • Jeff Yost (RFI Fellow), Nebraska Community Foundation
  • Janet Topolsky, The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group
  • Travis Green, The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group
  • Kristin Feierabend, The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

 

Contact: Chuck Hibberd, hibberd@unl.edu

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Rural Sourcing

December 5, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2013 Summary The concept of “rural sourcing” relates to existing and start-up companies strategically locating operations in rural areas to reduce labor costs and increase employee reliability. This project built on a successful “cross-sourcing” model to recruit …

Research & Engagement, 2013


Summary

The concept of “rural sourcing” relates to existing and start-up companies strategically locating operations in rural areas to reduce labor costs and increase employee reliability. This project built on a successful “cross-sourcing” model to recruit University of Nebraska alumni back to rural Nebraska in targeted professional service occupations. Alumni from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Kearney campuses were sent several emails and one postcard regarding the opportunity. The first phase of this project was guided by existing research exploring the lifestyle expectations and career preferences of alumni who moved back to the western/Panhandle region of Nebraska. Interviews were conducted with several alumni who have moved back to rural Nebraska to understand their process and motivation. Secondary and primary data collected from this research directed the communication campaign content for alumni who opted in to receive information related to current job openings.  Several central Nebraska employers were engaged as partners to describe and promote their professional opportunities with limited success related to filling job vacancies. The project received significant regional and national press coverage and formed several new relationships with employers, two University Alumni Associations, and University outreach staff.

Xpanxion designed the platform for accessing the Alumni Association data, sending related content, and allowing subscribers to opt-in for receiving future messages. Xpanxion assigned marketing, web-site, and software engineering staff to design and host the online platform and manage the testing during the project.

Impacts

The results from this project were less than expected as none of the rural employers filled vacant professional positions as a result of the system. The project investigators planned and implemented an innovative program never attempted at this level of a statewide public-private collaboration. The innovative concept received significant national, regional, and local media resulting in positive awareness for the key organizational collaborators (i.e. Xpanxion, the Nebraska Alumni Association, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and the Rural Futures Institute/funder).

This project was well suited as a seed, or pilot, grant funding recipients as partners were unaware of the best methods for implementation or what some results might reveal. Several major lessons were learned through the process, including the need to engage more partner companies as employers before any promotional campaigns to alumni were implemented. The initial promotional campaign should still be a personalized postcard as the target audience of working professionals receive many forms of electronic correspondence each day.  Collaboration with other secondary education institutions serving rural populations may also expand the reach and potential of this concept.  The project served its purpose as a pilot program as it engaged the public and private sector on a meaningful and innovative level and an overall good use of public funds.

Project Team

  • Shawn Kaskie (PI), University of Nebraska at Kearney, Center for Rural Research and Development
  • Paul Eurek (Co-PI), Xpanxion Technologies LLC
  • Shelley Zaborowski (Co-PI), Nebraska Alumni Association
  • Randy Cantrell, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Odee Ingersoll, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraska Business Development Center

Partners

  • Dena Beck, Center for Rural Affairs, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project
  • Mary Findlay, Nebraska Department of Labor

Presentations

  • Nebraska Extension Eureka! Conference
    Rural Sourcing
    March 17, 2015 | Omaha, NE
  • Rural Futures Institute Regional Forum
    Rural Sourcing
    October 9, 2014 | Broken Bow, NE

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Shawn Kaskie, kaskiesc@unk.edu

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Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners

November 17, 2017
Research & Engagement, 2017  Summary The critical role of entrepreneurship and small businesses in addressing many of the social (e.g., population retention) and economic challenges (e.g., lack of jobs) facing rural communities has now been well established. Consequently, there …

Research & Engagement, 2017

Summary

The critical role of entrepreneurship and small businesses in addressing many of the social (e.g., population retention) and economic challenges (e.g., lack of jobs) facing rural communities has now been well established. Consequently, there is a substantial need for educational programs that promote entrepreneurship and vocational skills for both adults and youth whose retention will be critical for rural futures. Such programs can help local business owners maintain and grow their enterprises and promote career readiness and entrepreneurship for youth. Unfortunately, most programs intended to address these goals are developed in and for larger communities and are not attuned to the unique economic environment and job outlook in smaller communities.

This project intends to analyze the unique needs of rural businesses and youth to implement a highly successful entrepreneurship program within the local context, modify as needed and disseminate via extension professionals and relevant educational entities.

Impact

The research team has successfully completed the first pilot program in the Sandhills area and implemented a portion of the program in Krakow, Poland in June 2018.

In the Sandhills, one-on-one interviews with local business owners and focus group interview with youth participants were conducted to address the goal of examining the unique needs and contexts of local businesses and rural youth with regard to business ownership, entrepreneurship, and vocational training. The research team is in the process of transcribing, coding, and analyzing the collected data.

In combination with the RFI project, “Developing A Model for Quality of Life” as well as the RFI project “Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future,” this project has earned a $490k USDA grant for high-tech youth entrepreneurship clinics. Details >>>

Project Team

  • Surin Kim, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education and Human Sciences
  • Maria Rosario de Guzman, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • Mindy Anderson-Knott, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium
  • Susan Pearman, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension
  • Jody Dexter, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Nebraska Extension

Partners

  • Don Macke, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
  • Monica Braun, Center for Rural Affairs
  • Lana Zumbrunn, Fuse Coworking Space
  • Dave Rippe, Hastings Economic Development Corporation
  • Matthew Hurt, Hastings Senior High School
  • Tom Field, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
  • Carlos Estrada, Unicornable, LLC
  • Van Tran, Amazon.com, Inc

 

Publications

 

Publications

  • International Council for Small Businesses
    Youth and Young Adults Helping Local SMEs to Expand Their Markets by Solving Live Cases of Their Market Growth Challenges
    June 29, 2018 | Taipei, 
    Taiwan
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    Nurturing Rural Youth Entrepreneurs
    January 13, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA
  • United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    Developing a Model for Rural Youth Entrepreneurs
    January 12, 2018 | Los Angeles, CA

 

Media Coverage

 

Contact: Surin Kim, surin@unl.edu

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