Lincoln, Neb. —Rural Prosperity Nebraska, a division of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has partnered with the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska–Omaha to launch SourceLink Nebraska on Nov. 16. At launch, the online platform will offer over 870 resources from approximately 500 organizations across the state to help entrepreneurs and business owners create and expand their businesses.
“SourceLink Nebraska is a one-stop shop of resources for entrepreneurs and business owners that can help an entrepreneur or business owner start, accelerate or grow a business,” said Scott Asmus, SourceLink Nebraska’s network builder.
As one of RPN’s objectives is to help rural communities prosper, teaming with SourceLink Nebraska was a natural fit. The central repository for business development resources will include startup guides, growth guides, capital guides, a calendar with event listings across the state, and a video library for entrepreneurs and business owners.
In this vein, SourceLink Nebraska becomes the newest tool to augment RPN tools for community development. To strengthen activity and quality of life in rural communities, RPN combines the expertise of Extension educators with the experience of community leaders and efforts of student fellows. This collaborative effort across all walks of life helps Nebraska’s rural communities become more vibrant. SourceLink Nebraska increases that potential.
Stemming from Blueprint Nebraska, an initiative to increase the state’s population and economic outlook, SourceLink Nebraska gained traction in July 2020 as a means to make business resources more easily accessible for Nebraskans, particularly those in rural communities.
“The economic success of our state has long been built on the work ethic, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of Nebraskans,” said Mike Boehm, NU vice president and Harlan Vice Chancellor for IANR. “SourceLink Nebraska will help support our state’s already thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and give tomorrow’s entrepreneurs the tools they need to be successful. This is a valuable tool for our entire state.”
In addition to RPN, the NBDC has also partnered with the Omaha Public Power District, Peter Kiewit Foundation, University of Nebraska, University Technology Development Corporation, and IANR.
Resources on the platform will be searchable by service type and location, among other categories, and is designed to help entrepreneurs and business owners easily find information, said Jamie Bright, SourceLink Nebraska’s network navigator.
If an entrepreneur searches “LLC,” search results may include the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Franchising; the Entrepreneurial Living Learning Community; and the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center. A search for “Legal Services, Forming a Business” may bring up the Nebraska Secretary of State, Central Community College’s Entrepreneurship Center, and the Latino Small Business Program at UNL.
“Let’s say we have an entrepreneur in the Nebraska Panhandle who wants to start a business but doesn’t know where to begin,” Bright said. “They can plug in their location and see what resources are in their area, or what resources may be available from the eastern end of the state that they can access virtually.”
The events calendar and guides are tailored toward entrepreneurs and helping existing businesses grow. Entrepreneurs and business owners can connect to the abundant helpful resources during any time of the business life cycle. Access to platform is free.
“SourceLink Nebraska is an open platform,” said Asmus. “There’s no registration, no front door to enter. A membership is not required. It is available to everybody 24/7/365. It’s going to be helpful for businesses of all sizes, but particularly small businesses in our rural communities. The website will connect people to the right resources at the right time.”
“We want people to feel comfortable taking that first step of starting a business and connecting with someone in person who can help lead them through the rest of the steps,” said Bright. “That’s our primary goal—to have that online interaction turn into a physical connection.”
SourceLink Nebraska will be available on Nov. 16 at sourcelinknebraska.com.