Keynote Speaker for MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop

Keynote Speaker for MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop

Keynote Speaker for 2023 MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop

Join the GROW Nebraska Foundation and the Nebraska Tourism Agritourism as they join the Adventure Travel Workshop and MarkeTech 2023! Conference attendees will be able to experience an even better MarkeTech Conference this year on March 1 – 2, in Kearney, Nebraska at the Younes Conference Center. 

As part of the MarkeTech 2023 conference, keynote speaker Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants will be speaking for the very first time in Nebraska. As an industry leader in both business and functional fashion, Calhoun will bring her passion for rural communities, working family farms and ranches, and advocating for women in leadership. 

Raised on a farm in Connecticut, Calhoun relocated to Montana and in 2006 created Red Ants Pants to provide working women with fit, function, and flatter. Red Ants Pants is based out of White Sulphu Springs and products are made in the USA. 

From Calhoun’s grit and determination she has been recognized with the following awards: 2012 National Women in Business Champion for the Small Business Administration, 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year for the State of Montana, and in 2018, Calhoun’s foundation festival, was named the Event of the Year by the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development. She has since been inducted into Montana’s Business Hall of Fame. Calhoun and Red Ants Pants have been featured nationally in publications including Entrepreneur, National Geographic, Delta Sky, Country Woman, and Sunset. 

Calhoun will kick off MarkeTech 2023 with her keynote titled, “Present Day Pioneering.” 

Conference attendees will then have the opportunity to follow four different tracks including: Agritourism, Adventure Travel, Marketing and Social Media, and Business Growth and Resources. Attendees will be able to hear from local and regional experts in their fields and be able to hear how to develop scalable solutions. MarkeTech will also continue with the tradition of hosting panels of successful business leaders, social media and marketing specialists, ecommerce experts, and more! Calhoun will close the conference with an open question and answer session where conference attendees will be able to ask their most burning business questions. 

MarkeTech is a conference that provides all attendees with usable information to take back into their business, implement, and customize to fit their needs. Register today at marketechconference.com.

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:Press Contact: Ben Jones at 402-326-9941, or benjamin.jones@nebraska.govWorkshop Contact: Karen Kollars at 308-249-3220, or karen.kollars@nebraska.gov

GROW Nebraska Contact: Tonja Hahn at 308-386-6344, or tonja@grownebraska.org

Registration for the 2023 MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop is Open

Registration for the 2023 MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop is Open

Registration for the 2023 MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop is Open

Registration for the 2023 MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop is now open. This year, Nebraska Tourism is combining its workshop with GROW Nebraska’s MarkeTech Conference. The event will be held March 1-2, 2023 at the Younes Conference Center South in Kearney, NE. The conference is ideal for Nebraskans looking to start, grow and market successful agritourism, ecotourism and adventure travel destinations, and for other small businesses..“Nebraska is filled with opportunities for travelers looking to experience rural destinations,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “Our Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop helps Nebraskans develop these opportunities for visitors, and we are excited to partner with GROW Nebraska for this event.”The event will include:• A behind-the-scenes tour of Mac’s Creek Winery & Brewery to gain insights into the challenges and successes of a flourishing family enterprise.• Intensive networking opportunities to make lasting, beneficial connections with prominent Nebraska businesses and a plethora of vendors providing samples of made-in-Nebraska products.• Educational sessions focused on current tourism and business trends, effective marketing, event planning, business sustainability and more.• Connections to resources and practical tips that Nebraska businesses can walk away with and implement immediately.Registration for the conference is available at https://marketechconference.com/2023-registration/. To learn more about the conference and information on activities, keynotes and accommodations, click here.

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:Press Contact: Ben Jones at 402-326-9941, or benjamin.jones@nebraska.govWorkshop Contact: Karen Kollars at 308-249-3220, or karen.kollars@nebraska.gov

GROW Nebraska Contact: Tonja Hahn at 308-386-6344, or tonja@grownebraska.org

GROW Nebraska Continues Free Training Series With Google Partner

GROW Nebraska Continues Free Training Series With Google Partner

GROW Nebraska Continues Free Training Series With Google Partner

GROW Nebraska, in partnership with Google, launched a new training series in February of 2022. This FREE to the public workshop series features different topics each month, with a focus on google tools and boosting online visibility for businesses. There are both English & Spanish versions of these trainings offered every first Wednesday of the month. The English session takes place over zoom at 12pm CST. The Spanish session is done the same day at 6pm CST.  All GROW Nebraska trainings are on demand trainings anywhere anytime.  If entrepreneurs are unable to join during the live presentation all they need to do is sign up and the recording will be sent to them.

**The next upcoming Google Series is “Design Thinking For Entrepreneurs” on Wednesday Dec. 7th at 12pm (English) and 6pm (Spanish) CST. This topic is NEW to Google and we are excited to be one of the first to share it! The Google trainings will cover: Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems. It can be applied by entrepreneurs and small business owners to help with things like creating a company, inventing a product, redesigning a website, and more.

GROW Nebraska has received great feedback about the training from viewers, both members and non-members. There are new businesses starting up everyday that need the right resources, training and education to move their dream into a thriving business. GROW Nebraska feels honored to be a part of that thriving growth process.

“Being able to have these webinars available to the public is important to GROW Nebraska because we strive to help educate and give resources to the small businesses that we work with. The expansion of offering these in Spanish is highly needed in the Hispanic communities. We want everyone to have access to more business knowledge. Afterall, knowledge is power. Empowering entrepreneurs to learn how to not only “fish”, but to “own the pond” is in retrospect setting them up to feel successful going forward into the next steps of their business journey.”

-Amanda (GROW Nebraska’s Member Relations Coordinator)

Dave Meyer from Minneapolis, MN is the ongoing speaker with google for the English sessions, and Sixcia Devine from Providence, Rhode Island is the ongoing google speaker for the Spanish sessions. Both have been fantastic to work with and they bring so much knowledge and personality to each training!

“Showing up when customers are searching online is more important than ever. Ensure customers can find accurate, updated information about your local business on Google Search and Google Maps, no matter which device they use.”  -Dave Meyer, speaker/trainer for Google’s Grow with Google program

“Digital education for learners and small business owners is essential for professional and personal growth. The key to implementing those tools is simplicity and that is what I hope to share with the attendees who join my workshops.”  -Sixcia Devine, speaker/trainer for Google’s Grow with Google program

GROW Nebraska couldn’t agree with these statements more. The importance of making sure businesses have SEO working for them so they come up in relevant searches is only increasing, so it’s important to keep learning to stay ahead of the game. We invite you to join us on Dec. 7th or any of the following first Wednesdays of the month!

GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center Awarded Grant by Fund for Omaha with 1:1 Snap and Boost Program

GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center Awarded Grant by Fund for Omaha with 1:1 Snap and Boost Program

GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center Awarded Grant by Fund for Omaha with 1:1 Snap and Boost Program

 

GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center is honored to announce we were selected as one of the local nonprofits by Fund for Omaha to receive the grant promoting our Snap and Boost Program Spanish.

The Omaha Community Foundation awarded $487,639 in Fund for Omaha grants to 22 local nonprofits with a focus on promoting racial equity and social justice.

The demand for operating support and flexible grant funding has never been higher. The Foundation received a record 140 applications for funding from the Fund for Omaha, totaling $3.17 million in requests.

The Fund for Omaha has granted more than $8 million to local nonprofits since the grant program started 34 years ago. Fund for Omaha is the largest grant program funded by the Foundation in partnership with local philanthropists.

Funding priorities include arts and culture, neighborhoods, economic opportunity, health, transportation, and vibrant communities—with an overarching emphasis on racial equity as of 2020.

Goals of the grant program include supporting advocacy efforts to address systems change in communities of color and working to ensure equitable access to opportunity.

Eden Butler with GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center states, “Thanks to organizations like Omaha Community Foundation, we’re able to continue providing support to entrepreneurs through quality training and access to resources for the growth and sustainability of small businesses throughout the Greater Omaha area. Thank you OCF for believing in the mission of equitable access to opportunity and supporting our efforts towards a stronger Nebraska workforce.”

 Article as seen on:

GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center Awarded Grant by Fund for Omaha with 1:1 Snap and Boost Program

 

 

About the GROW Nebraska® Foundation

The GROW Nebraska® Foundation helps entrepreneurs get the resources they need to live in Anywhere, NE and make a sustainable living. Since the inception of GROW Nebraska® in 1998 our vision and mission has never wavered: to create viable economic development through business training, technical assistance, promotion, and access to markets. We create impactful opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs to live in “Anywhere”, Nebraska and make a sustainable living.

Member and Husker Alum’s Popcorn Business Continues Gaining Steam, Expanding

Member and Husker Alum’s Popcorn Business Continues Gaining Steam, Expanding

Member and Husker Alum’s Popcorn Business Continues Gaining Steam, Expanding

 

 

We are so happy to share this article written by the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Husker Alumni Newsletter of GROW Nebraska member Preferred Popcorn! They have been a proud member of GROW Nebraska since  2007. We are so honored to have been able to work with them and continue to watch them grow! Check out the article below, and shop his listings here! 

https://buynebraska.com/collections/preferred-popcorn 

You can find the fruits of his labor in movie theaters across America. Depending on the weekend, you might find the man himself in London or Bangkok.

He’s not a movie star on a worldwide press junket for his latest blockbuster. But Norm Krug has become a star in his field — especially when he’s planting or harvesting it.

The Husker alumnus from Chapman, Nebraska, a village with fewer residents than an ear of corn has kernels, now presides over a global popcorn company whose product is grown in seven states and has sold in more than 70 countries.

“It’s become quite a large operation,” Krug said of his business, Preferred Popcorn. “We’re one of the larger popcorn companies in America, and probably the world, as far as that goes.”

In 1998, two decades after earning a bachelor’s in animal science from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Krug founded Preferred Popcorn with a few fellow farmers from the Chapman area. As the son of a “hardworking tenant farmer” who had grown popcorn for 45 years, Krug already had long experience with the crop. At the time, though, he just hoped the new company could supplement his income while giving local farmers another option for supplementing their dent corn and soybean.

Naturally, Krug began by reaching out to movie theaters, which were attracting droves to see the likes of “Titanic,” “Armageddon” and “Saving Private Ryan.” Yet he soon found himself feeling like the hapless businessmen sometimes depicted on the silver screen, cold-calling unreceptive clients who were more likely to hang up than listen up.

“When we started out, we had zero name recognition,” he said. “And when we would call the theaters, it was, ‘Sorry, we use Orville (Redenbacher’s),’ and click.”

Then he dialed up his alma mater’s signature theater: the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, better known to Huskers simply as The Ross.

“They gave us an equal playing field,” Krug said. “It was really an encouragement to get our popcorn sold at The Ross. They were one of the first that took a chance on us.”

In those early days, years before dozens of semis handled his domestic distribution, Krug would toss a bag of kernels in the bed of his pickup, make the 90-minute drive east to Lincoln, and drop his popcorn at The Ross before taking in a Husker game at Memorial Stadium. He was thrilled and thankful for the business. But he was still growing more popcorn than he knew what to do with: Just one 50-pound bag of kernels, after all, could produce a thousand 32-ounce servings of popcorn. So the amateur entrepreneur started attending trade shows with the aim of drumming up more customers. The devout Christian’s first stop? Sin City.

“Here are these farmers going to Las Vegas. All we had was a sack of popcorn and our emblem, and there are all these large, amazing booths,” he recounted. “I’m sure we were the smallest popcorn plant in the world at that point. But we did have a good knowledge of popcorn and how to produce it.

“I think it’s a good story of: Stay with it. Don’t be discouraged. Have a mission. Do your job, and do it well.”

As it turned out, his company shared a trait with the crop it was selling: Once it gained some steam, it expanded in a hurry. That Vegas road trip yielded a sale to buyers in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Krug followed it with a visit to Thailand, where the fish-out-of-water managed to hook more clients. All the while, he was finding friends in people he never anticipated meeting and common ground in places he never expected to set foot.

Once, during a stop in China, he spoke to a farmer with the aid of a translator. Krug was curious about what improvements the farmer wanted to see in his crops. His answers were familiar: varieties that stood straighter, were easier to harvest and ultimately sold for higher prices. For Krug, the conversation helped hammer home that farming, like music or math, is something of a universal language.

“Farmers want the same things halfway around the world,” Krug said. “I was as far from Nebraska as I could get. We want exactly the same thing.”

Business had picked up back home, too. Whereas movie theaters had once refused to even give Preferred Popcorn a try, the company was now supplying its product to Marcus Theatres and every other cinema in Lincoln. Today, Krug said, much of the popcorn sold in U.S. theaters is Preferred.

Though experience and name recognition have helped the business grow, Krug likes to think that Preferred Popcorn’s attention to detail and commitment to quality have also played their parts. The company keeps track of which growers have contributed which popcorn, awarding bonuses to those whose kernels have sustained minimal damage — an effort to ensure that the maximum percentage of kernels will actually pop. And each of the 65 bins at the Chapman-based headquarters is equipped with a sensor that monitors temperature and moisture, both of which can potentially take the pop out of popcorn.

Krug is proud, too, that Preferred Popcorn’s growers — about 50 of whom farm Nebraska’s land — have adopted crop rotations that reduce reliance on pesticides and no-till practices that curb erosion of topsoil. On one especially blustery mid-October day that marked the end of his annual popcorn harvest, with winds gusting to more than 40 miles per hour, Krug pointed out the lack of dust blowing from his fields.

“You have to have practical solutions, and the university has always been great at that,” said Krug, who dedicates about a thousand of his own acres to popcorn. “I do attribute a lot to my university background.

“People tend to think environmentalists and farmers are on different sides. We’re not. Who wants to preserve the soil more than I do? I have 16 grandchildren.”

As Preferred Popcorn nears its 25th anniversary, Krug continues to eye new opportunities. The company recently began popping its own popcorn for the first time, developing a ready-to-eat product line based out of Waco, Nebraska — a village even smaller than Chapman.

“We hope that grows into a large establishment,” he said, “and employs more people in another small Nebraska town.”

For a frequent flier who’s become attuned to the cultural customs of Japan and France and Egypt, Krug makes no secret of the fact that his Nebraska roots still run as deep as those anchoring the popcorn plants surrounding his native Chapman. Earlier this year, he embarked on a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Ireland — affording him the chance, coincidentally enough, to watch his beloved Huskers kick off their season in Dublin.

“I’ve been able to travel to a lot of places in the world, meet a lot of incredible people, but I’m always glad to come home,” Krug said. “Nebraska is a great place to live, and I’m thankful for it.”

 

 Article as seen on:

https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/husker-alum-s-popcorn-business-continues-gaining-steam-expanding/

Written by Scott Schrage 

Pictures by Craig Chandler 

About the GROW Nebraska® Foundation

The GROW Nebraska® Foundation helps entrepreneurs get the resources they need to live in Anywhere, NE and make a sustainable living. Since the inception of GROW Nebraska® in 1998 our vision and mission has never wavered: to create viable economic development through business training, technical assistance, promotion, and access to markets. We create impactful opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs to live in “Anywhere”, Nebraska and make a sustainable living.