New business mentorship efforts

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear Fellow Nebraskans:

Recently, I joined with business and development officials from the public and private sector in announcing a new partnership created to help strengthen Nebraska small businesses and startup enterprises through mentorship.

This mentorship effort is aimed at creating a new generation of homegrown business success stories in Nebraska.

The initiative combines business-to-business mentors and a consulting program for entrepreneurs created by The Gallup Organization to help early-stage entrepreneurs and established firms grow their enterprises.

We want to be an ally for small businesses, particularly those investing in innovation. This effort is an attempt to develop a more coordinated, intensive partnership that provides the guidance and expertise that helps small businesses be successful.

The 2010 Battelle Innovation study found that Nebraska has strong economic fundamentals that support business development, but weak commercialization of new knowledge. The study recommended providing training for small businesses in high-growth industries to help accelerate their growth and create greater likelihood for long-term success.

Last month, more than 25 volunteer small business and economic development leaders took part in a Gallup workshop to become certified mentors. They will each work with several start-up business leaders and leaders of small and medium size companies across the state over the next two years. Mentors will offer advice and guidance to business owners as they confront challenges in growing their enterprise ranging from securing startup capital and developing new products to building their leadership team and transferring ownership of an existing business.

Mentors and the small businesses and entrepreneurs participating in this effort represent several of Nebraska's high-growth industries, including: renewable energy, information technology, manufacturing, logistics and other professional business service companies. This effort has the potential to help 400 businesses statewide over the next two years.

I appreciate the partners involved in creating this new mentoring effort, including the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Gallup, the Greater Omaha Chamber, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Gallup's involvement provides an opportunity to combine the behavioral economic research and management expertise of a leading Nebraska company to help benefit startup companies in ways that are typically available to large corporations. As a company that has made the transition from small business to an industry leader, the experience Gallup brings to the table is invaluable. Their involvement presents a unique opportunity to strengthen business development in Nebraska.

This is an outstanding example of the collaborative partnerships that exist in Nebraska, and the innovative way we are willing to working together to move Nebraska forward.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: