NGage hopes to boost small business

22 Sep 2014

small business, NGage Executive Director,

Do you know the entrepreneurs in our community?

Do you know friends and neighbors that are small business owners or may be considering a new business opportunity? If so, NGage wants to help by meeting them and assisting however possible. Entrepreneurs and small businesses play a huge role in our economy both locally and nationally, especially in rural regions.

Rural economies are largely made up of small businesses and are responsible for most of the job growth and innovation. Small businesses are huge!

They represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, employ half of all private sector employees and pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll. Most large companies in our rural area had small microenterprise beginnings and everything clicked at some point to help them grow.

Many folks relate economic development with the attraction of big businesses to a community. Of course, those opportunities must be on our radar screen and we want to be ready for any possibility.

We also want to be able to assist existing companies, both large and small, to grow and to nurture entrepreneurs and new business start-ups. Businesses that start and grow here will tend to stay and “give back” to the community.

“Grow Your Own” entrepreneurship-based economic development is a model that uses entrepreneurship and small business development as a key tool in creating local economic growth. This model comes from economic research and has been presented and written about by community development advisors with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Dell Gines, with the Omaha Branch of the KC Federal Reserve, writes that implementing and following a “Grow Your Own” approach to economic development requires a long-term view of achieving economic stability and growth. Developing a community that believes in small business growth fosters innovation and encourages business investment, which is essential to creating a vibrant small business economy.

Public, private, and community leaders must work together in an “all hands on deck” approach over the long-haul to successfully support and grow an entrepreneurship based economy. We need to assess our entrepreneurial infrastructure. Is it easy to do business in this community?

How much work is involved in getting a business license, paying taxes, obtaining needed business services?

Can businesses count on top-notch roads, broadband access, find customers, and reach necessary markets?

NGage along with collaborative resource partners including Main Street Beatrice and the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce are embarking on the University Extension ECAP (Entrepreneurial Community Activation Process) Program.

We’ve met with a core team of individuals from the community to help lead this effort and we hope for participation from everyone in completing the ECAP Discovery Tool and then helping to identify action plans in working toward building a strong entrepreneurial community.

We’ll keep you posted on ECAP and the Discovery Tool when it is ready for county wide dissemination.

At the same time, we’re promoting various workshops and training opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs including a day of social media training for small businesses (hosted by the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 7), SBA Resources workshop on Oct. 22, with more training, networking opportunities, and workshops planned on an ongoing basis.

We want to do what is necessary to be supportive of all things business.

Community-wide commitment and leadership is essential to establishing a successful “Grow Your Own” economic development strategy. We hope you’ll engage with NGage and our partners in this effort!

Look for us in the Beatrice Daily Sun here!