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life in rural nebraska

Marketplace: The rural entrepreneurship conference

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The week of February 20-27, 2010, is National Entrepreneurship Week.  Entrepreneurship Week provides an opportunity to focus on the innovative ways in which entrepreneurial development and entrepreneurship education can create a better economic future, especially during these difficult times.  And once again, the Center for Rural Affairs will host their Marketplace rural entrepreneurship conference during the heart of this national celebration.

This year the Center’s Marketplace for Entrepreneurs (www.cfra.org/marketplace/home) will be held on February 23rd and 24th at the Ramada Convention Center in Kearney, Nebraska.  I, for one, intend to be front and center as 500 some farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs, economic developers, civic leaders and myriad service providers from across rural Nebraska and surrounding states gather in Kearney to celebrate entrepreneurship, learn from one another and challenge each other to continue creating jobs and economic opportunities in our rural communities.

This is the fourth annual Marketplace entrepreneurship conference hosted by the Center, drawing over 500 attendees each year.  If you haven’t attended Marketplace yet, I encourage you to do so this year.  If you have attended before, I’ll wager you don’t need me to tell you why going back is a good idea.

I hope you, a local business owner can make time to travel to Marketplace and see the bonanza offered.  The skills learned and the connections made are enough reason to go.  Take for example, an entrepreneur I met prior to my arrival in Ord.

I had an opportunity to meet an Kyle Rosfeld in Valentine.  Kyle is a home grown kid from Valentine and will be attending his fourth Marketplace this year.  Kyle opened his new business, the Sandhills Boot Company, in Valentine after leaving ranching in 2000.  He began his business on a shoestring budget and, with assistance from the Center for Rural Affairs, Marketplace and GROW Nebraska, business has grown steadily.  He credits Marketplace teach-ins for improving his bottom line.  From basic pricing to understanding the value of media, in particular free media, he says he’s learned a lot.  His boots are amazing creations and handcrafted with passion.

Marketplace is a cutting edge entrepreneurship event founded on the premise that the mainstreets and country roads of rural Nebraska can and should be a wellspring of economic strength and vitality for our state and beyond.  For a couple of days in late February some of rural Nebraska’s most visionary leaders will gather in Kearney and share their knowledge, expertise and inspirational stories.  It promises to be a sight to behold.


Written by Caleb

February 16, 2010 at 7:44 pm

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