Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners

Research & Engagement, 2017


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. 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 >>


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


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,, Inc

Contact: Surin Kim,