Supporting Members Want To See Nebraska Businesses Thrive


Supporting Members Want To See

Nebraska Businesses Thrive

Popcorn businesses, t-shirt creators and retail store members have much to promote about their products, and their businesses are high-profile members of GROW Nebraska.


But many longtime GROW Nebraska members are more behind the scenes and support the non-profit business training and marketing organization because they believe in its mission and have a desire to see Nebraska businesses grow and thrive. These supporting members include banks, utility companies, telecommunications companies and even individuals.


Public Power Districts


Rick Nelsen, senior economic development consultant with the Nebraska Public Power District, said economic development work is important for communities served by NPPD to grow.


“Entrepreneurship and small business are vital pieces of that growth, and GROW Nebraska provides marketing and technical services that we are not able to provide,” Nelsen said. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with GROW through our sponsorship and participation in GROW events.”


NPPD’s service area includes all or parts of 85 Nebraska counties in towns served by NPPD’s Retail Division, wholesale municipalities and wholesale public power district and rural cooperatives. Nelsen said NPPD offers a wealth of information that may be useful to business owners on its economic development website (


Personally, Nelsen said he and his wife benefited from GROW Nebraska as members several years ago when they operated a rubber-stamp business.


“We not only retailed rubber stamps, we also designed, manufactured and wholesaled stamps, and GROW was instrumental in helping us reach potential customers,” he said.


Twin Valleys Public Power District headquartered in Cambridge has also been a long-time supporting member of GROW Nebraska.


Twin Valley serves five counties in southwest Nebraska: Furnas, Red Willow, Frontier, Gosper, Harlan and a small portion of Phelps County.


“It’s important to support our local economy,” said Twin Valley’s General Manager Dave Custer. “The rural part of Nebraska is underserved, and if there’s any way we can help support entrepreneurs selling Nebraska products, we will.”


Custer noted that Twin Valleys currently is managing a USDA Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant program that offers low-interest loans to customers in the Twin Valley service area. Custer said the revolving loan fund has more than $100,000 available to loan to rural business owners. The USDA loan program is intended to create or retain jobs in rural areas.


For more information about Twin Valleys, visit




Several banks are also long-time supporting members of GROW Nebraska.


Mandy Hengelfelt, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Cornerstone Bank, said Cornerstone is committed to helping Nebraska communities thrive.


“We knew we wanted to support GROW Nebraska once we learned of its mission and the valuable resource it is to entrepreneurs in our state,” she said.


Cornerstone Bank has 40 bank locations across Nebraska with many of those locations in towns with populations less than 1,000.


“Cornerstone Bank is family owned and located in small towns where you work with your friends and neighbors,” Hengelfelt said. “We provide the most up-to-date financial technology to help our customers grow.”


She encouraged business owners to visit the website at for more information about the bank, including CD rates, career opportunities, locations and more.


Karl Randecker, president and CEO of First State Bank of Gothenburg, said his family-owned bank has supported GROW Nebraska since its early days.


“I have been aware of GROW Nebraska for a long time, and I know the organization does good things,” Randecker said. “We have just always supported it.”


First State Bank has locations in Gothenburg, Omaha, North Platte, Wallace and Mullen. Its sister bank (Farnam Bank) has locations in Holbrook, Cambridge, Stamford and Alma.


“We are actively involved in our communities,” Randecker said. “When our businesses do well, we do well.”


For more information about First State Bank, visit




BWTelcom is a telecommunications and service provider headquartered in Benkelmen in southwest Nebraska and is also a long-time supporter of GROW Nebraska.


The family-owned company serves the communities of Haigler, Benkelman, Wauneta, Danbury, Lebanon and several counties including Chase, Dundee, Hays, Hitchcock and Red Willow with internet, telephone and cable television services.


Randall Raile, general manager, currently owns the business with his daughter, who is a fifth generation family-member owner. Being a member of GROW Nebraska provides the company with important information to better serve its customers.


“It gives us a broader sense of our responsibilities in our business here,” Raile said. “We get to see how others react and how they provide for their customers.”


By seeing what other business owners are doing, Raile said they can provide the most beneficial services.


For more information about BWTelcom, visit the website at


GROW Nebraska is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through business training, technical assistance, promotion and market opportunities. Please consider donating to GROW Nebraska if you believe in helps Nebraska business owners thrive.


For a listing of all of GROW Nebraska’s supporting members, visit


Previous Gargan Hired as Business Development Director for GROW Nebraska

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