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Home Town Competitiveness: A Come-Back/Give-Back Approach to Rural Community Building Sponsored by: The Nebraska Community Foundation The Heartland Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Home Town Competitiveness: A Come-Back/Give-Back Approach to Rural Community Building Sponsored by: The Nebraska Community Foundation The Heartland Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Home Town Competitiveness: A Come-Back/Give-Back Approach to Rural Community Building Sponsored by: The Nebraska Community Foundation The Heartland Center for Leadership Development Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

2 Hometown Competitiveness Field Day on Thursday, May 13, 2004 Windmill: A Symbol of the Nebraska Community Foundation

3 Report by Craig Hertel, Greene County Extension Education Director Thanks to the Community Vitality Center at Iowa State University for support to this conference and The Nebraska Home Town Competitiveness partners for their materials, ideas and program.

4 Welcome to Atkinson, Nebraska One of the reasons for the field day was to showcase an actual community, and its physical attributes. This community sign is the first thing you see driving into town.

5 About Atkinson, Nebraska Located in Northern NE, in Holt County. Holt Co. is an oversized county, about 50 miles square. Population: 11,500. O’Neill is county seat, with 3,500+ people Atkinson, population 1,244, is 18 miles from O’Neill.

6 Down the road ¼ mile… Further into town, I saw another sign that jumped out and caught my eye Little did I know how important it was to the HTC model…

7 The Home Town Competitiveness (HTC) model encourages action… 1.Mobilize Local Leaders 2.Energize Entrepreneurship 3.Capture Wealth Transfer 4.Attract Young People

8 1. Mobilizing Local Leaders a.Communities must be intentional about recruiting and nurturing an increasing number of women, minorities and young people into decision-making roles b.Tap into everyone’s potential knowledge, talent & aspirations c.The usual suspects model works for recruiting new business, but entrepreneurship is not limited by income or industry. So, including more people & networks increases odds for successful community entrepreneurship. d.Continuing leadership training programs

9 2. Capturing Wealth Transfer a.Rural residents do not always recognize local wealth, because so much of it is held through land ownership. b.Most people are at first shocked, and then highly motivated, one they understand the enormous amount of local wealth that will transfer out of the area to heirs who have migrated. c.Planned gifts need to be cultivated now!

10 3. Energizing entrepreneurship The Nebraska Center for Rural Entrepreneurship focuses on: 1. Saving Main Street through planned ownership succession 2. Creating new wealth and good jobs by helping entrepreneurial companies that have potential to break through to a broader product-line and/or larger market 3. Using local charitable assets to support entrepreneurial development

11 Nebraska Center for Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge: “Far too many communities continue to invest resources in economic development for job creation and business development that exports, rather than builds, local wealth.” HTC model embraces local business and strategic downtown redevelopment efforts

12 4. Attracting Young People HTC teaches: How to target youths attraction Create career opportunities Nurture a sense of ownership and vested interest in the community’s future leaders

13 Conference – reinforced the 4 Pillars of HTC Most sessions had panel discussion –Each time all 4 pillars highlighted –Community spokesman seemed very clear on the need for the 4 pillars, although smaller communities (<400) may focus on 2-3 pillars –For a relatively new model, people seemed to easily grasp on terms, reasons and approach –Many of the community examples just getting off the ground – therefore, immediate reflections of getting started (and motivated to perform since they had to report!)

14 Panelist comments… The Sandhills 3-county group – residents appeared afraid of “here we go again” – these efforts come and go. Valley observation – “youth had more profound comments than adults” “Think about strategically about succession of the home owned business.” “The 4 pillars may not all happen at once, or at the same speed. Adjust…” “Think regionally…”

15 Youth component…. Very visible (presence, tour leaders, signage) “Youth NOT the future –they are the Present!” Strategy to personally connect with H.S. students and finding people to come home Goal: 11-14% of graduating class to return Goal is being monitored Personal mentoring and encouragement Want them to leave – BUT come back! Early in their life: connections “to stay”

16 Leadership has progressed… Used to be leaders had to know the right answer. Then, leaders had to know the right question. Now, leaders need to know who to go to!

17 Observations Significant number of young adults in the audience from across Nebraska and border states. In visiting, good enthusiasm and interest in making a difference! Same exact comments of community challenges as we hear in Iowa!

18 Potpourri Importance of Entrepreneurial Skills I.D. Key is what community leaders Say & Do, and setting a good example Old challenge of how to get the Old Guard to buy-in, always an issue Need rural (out of town) participation to balance out city resident needs Use Chamber list serve for outreach Build Hope

19 Philanthropy pillar… Ex.: Ord, Valley Co -- $1.2 million gift via will leverages other giving to $5.2 M in “expectancies” 5% Nebraska target seemed well known goal – 5% tied to actual, measurable numbers Banks and individual donations used as impetus to initiate giving Philanthropy used as gifts/loans to support entrepreneurship pillar

20 Surprised that… The importance of retail business in the model – caught me off guard 1.“new business” tied to retail 2.Efforts put in by community facilitators to encourage retail 3.Importance to community image was retail establishments 4.Number of retail places in town of 1,244 5.Retail seemed to attract youth

21 …more on Retail 6. Retail places visited all had their nitch market that covered a wider area -- IGA  locker  seasoning  mail -- Ogden Hardware  Dish -- Something Special  asks wholesalers if anyone has this merchandise w/in 100miles -- Old fashion soda fountain -- Clothing – jeans outlet

22 Cautions Can that much retail hold on? Business increases as more businesses develop. Surprised that I heard retail business, but not manufacturing or other businesses Fear expressed of Wal-Mart by participants of conference & retails Holt County – early pioneer of irrigation in Midwest, therefore, lots of money made in late 1960’s, early 1970’s

23 The Sign… “It changed the Youth’s Attitude!” Developed by the youth They “owned” the sign, and had tremendous pride in it Prominent!

24 Downtown Attractiveness & Pride The flags were out! A main intersection had a message board, with attractive landscaping Streets were kept up All field day participants were bused downtown for a 5-stop walking tour.

25 High School Youth Engagement The High School youth were not only the tour guides, but clearly actively involved in framing the enthusiasm and future community plans. Encouraging youth to return was one of the 4 pillars of HTC.

26 Town of 1,244 – 3 Hardware stores Ogden Hardware was run/owned by a young person. One line of merchandise, dish network, had a service area of about 100 miles. Father co-signed initial loan; noted need for start-up capital

27 Gift-tee type items EVERYWHERE! “Something Special by Marilyn” is indeed a special ‘destination’ store Very large, two story retail store full of gifts galore for any occasion Business started about 11 years ago by two local women. Would be a draw for women everywhere!

28 On the community center wall… …. Were four wall hangings, strategically placed by the restrooms! Each one was a positive quote that a left a great impression.

29 Question? “Can this Hometown Competiveness Model be implemented without cash incentive and grant money?” -- Perhaps – if there is strong community leadership that is present and training to act –If no $ at the beginning to hire human resources, then it is encumbent on the community to rally and see the benefits, and fund appropriately

30 Community Road Map Scouts Champions Town Meeting Decision to use HTC Model Organizing

31 Formation of: Steering Committee Leadership Working Group Entrepreneurship Working Group Philanthropy Working Group Youth Working Group Leadership Training

32 Steps in Process Develop clear goals: map assets, identify needed programs and services Identify potential entrepreneurs, conduct visits, offer one-on-one entrepreneurial training, develop strategies for long-term entrepreneurial development Conduct youth entrepreneurship courses, hold summer youth camps Promote human and financial investment

33 Atkinson youth promote community pride

34 Atkinson, Stuart youth serve as active leaders in downtown entrepreneurial developments

35 It’s all about “attitude”…

36 Braun’s IGA, owned by two brothers, is a grocery store, meat locker, deer and game processor, catering business, processor/distributor of meat seasonings, and a trophy hunting guide service.

37 Ogden Hardware is now owned by the original owner’s son, who returned from a high-paying job in Colorado, to purchase and manage the Atkinson store.

38 A gazebo in a park-like setting and flags greeted visitors to an area of Atkinson currently on the Main Street architect’s drawing board for redevelopment.

39 A new sign graces the town entrance. It marks a new beginning for Atkinson and serves as one of many steps community citizens plan to take to revitalize “home.”

40 Donor Perspective Reinvestment through philanthropic efforts: Creates personal and community pride Offers opportunities for youth and adults to stay in the community Builds local business Demonstrates citizens “care” about their communities Creates a cycle of wealth


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