The Nebraska Enterprise Fund (NEF) has provided business development services to small businesses across the state for the past 25 years. Since 1994, they have provide technical training, and loan assistance to over 2,000 business and more than 5,100 jobs in the state.
To celebrate these 25 years of blossoming entrepreneurship, NEF asked us to highlight a few of their most recent success stories from across the state. From traveling out on the gravel roads surrounding Bancroft, to the 4 hour trip from Omaha to the town of Cozad, which is probably one of Nebraska’s best kept secrets. Thankfully our last business owner was here in Omaha. Not just the adventures of driving all over the state but the variety in stories kept us engaged, and impressed, about just what is going on around our nice “Quiet” state.
Adam represents the next generation of business being developed in Nebraska. He is a genuine mix of down home country farm boy and 21st century tech sector digital native, having sold his farm equipment designs since he was just a college-aged entrepreneur starting Rief Designs. Capitalizing on growing through selling to farm equipment first locally then worldwide online, Adam has settled back into his hometown of Bancroft, having expanded his business enough that NEF was there to assist him. He now is looking forward to starting a family and giving back to and expanding his hometown.
Content with having a small flower shop at first, he soon noticed how sometimes selling furinture at his shop was addressing something missing in his small town of Cozad, Tom soon saw a chance to restore a bit of his town’s charm. Working with the bank, the local chamber, and of course NEF, who’s assistance really made it all doable, he now owns DawsonHome, a furniture store and home design studio. It was not only a hit with the locals, but with Tom’s business savvy, he has tapped into online markets with customers reaching out to him globally. Customers even drive in from Lincoln and Omaha, which is crazy, but in a good way.
There has been something of a bit of a renaissance in Cozad that kind of mirrors a new feeling across the nation, building up smaller towns that felt abandoned by business. Something that NEF believes in, and we can’t help but believe in too.
Maybe the only thing harder than writing your first book is the business end of being a professional writer. That was the position Nicole found herself in, the experience of getting published was just the ‘First Step.’ Her first book, “A Girl’s Secrets,” a memoir of real experiences and often (brutal) honesty, has quickly become a new focal point of opening dialogue between people, “having important conversations, that, perhaps, we need to start having,” as Nicole says.