Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

October 25, 2022

RED CLOUD and SIDNEY--A statewide initiative known as Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems continues to strengthen six Greater Nebraska hometowns. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Nebraska Public Power District, Nebraska Community Foundation, NetWork Kansas, and e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems helped launch this statewide initiative.

In Red Cloud, the local ecosystem is centered around agriculture. While folks in Red Cloud are more than happy to embrace those farm roots, they are also learning to harness heritage tourism through local resources. “Such as the National Willa Cather Center and all of the historic sites associated with her,” Heritage Tourism Development Director Jarrod McCartney said. “We have more sites dedicated to an author than any other place in the country, maybe even the world.” The E3 Initiative through Nebraska Community Foundation is helping people get the conversation started when it comes to developing local entrepreneurship in places like Red Cloud. “For instance, we are building a brand new boutique hotel downtown, and what we need to make that successful is to have allied businesses who will provide the sort of amenities that our visitors want, but also produce the quality of life our residents deserve,” McCartney said. “I think E3 will give us the tools to achieve that vision.”

In Sidney, there is plenty of pride in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. “We are so grateful to Cabela’s and all that they’ve brought here,” G.L. Huyett Vice President of Marketing and Technology Sarah Sinnett said. “As a result of that, we have a really strong ecosystem now, and it’s continuing to thrive after the company’s buyout.” Local leaders say the community is strengthened by a great school system. “I have two elementary students now, and they actually cry the last day of school every year because they love school so much. We have amazing teachers, we have an amazing curriculum, and it challenges them every day. Our secondary and high school system has really transformed things, that it’s not just a bell-to-bell mentality, or that you have to be in this class at this time. They realize there are a lot of different ways to educate children and have enriched experiences.”