Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development (CERD) creates, facilitates, and partners with other organizations to offer multiple networking and mentoring events year-round so Nebraska Entrepreneurs can share ideas, contacts, and resources. The CERD supports entrepreneurs through the following three focus areas: education, mentoring and networking, market research.

UNK's Program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the CERD espouses the grow-your-own philosophy of economic development, known as Economic Gardening. According to a presentation by Bo Fishback of the Kauffman Foundation, two of the most misunderstood and under-valued concepts essential to entrepreneurship include markets and networks. CERD provides direct service to entrepreneurs and start-ups in the form of general business counseling and primary market research.

The CERD regularly presents at meetings and conferences aimed at equipping entrepreneurs and business resource providers with knowledge of and materials for various economic gardening strategies.

Business Building Opportunities
Business Plan Competition
Big Idea Kearney Contest

Educational Programming
Baldwin Free Enterprise Seminar Series
Wells Fargo Seminar Series
Nebraska State Agency Director Series

Mentoring and Networking Resources
With the help of our regional resources partners, entrepreneurs have access to a number of mentoring and networking opportunities across Central Nebraska. Those partners are:

Guiding Principals for Entrepreneurs by Scott Molander:

  1. You can learn as much, if not more, from a bad situation than a good one, whether personal or professional.
  2. Treat employees the same as you would want to be treated.
  3. Never think you know everything.  Always seek advice both personally and professionally.
  4. Teach your employees and let them do their job.
  5. Whenever I review a decision I think, "What is the worst possible outcome and can I live with that outcome?"

The Investor's Business Daily 10 Secrets to Success:

  1. How You Think is Everything.  Always be positive.  Think success, not failure.  Beware of negative environments.
  2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals. Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
  3. Take Action.  Goals are nothing without action.  Don't be afraid to get started.  Just do it.
  4. Never Stop Learning.  Go back to school or read books.  Get training and acquire skills.
  5. Be Persistent and Work Hard.  Success is a marathon, not a sprint.  Never give up.
  6. Learn to Analyze Details.  Get all of the facts, all the input.  Learn from your mistakes.
  7. Focus Your Time and Money.  Don't let other people or things distract you.
  8. Don't Be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
  9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively.  No person is an island.  Learn to understand and motivate others.