During my career, I have been fortunate to work teach business in Lithuania and manage micro and small business programs in Europe, Asia, and Latin America as well as Nebraska. This includes the small business owner in Albania that sent their daughter to university, the small business owner in India that created jobs through her expert business, the small business in Colombia selling artisan pieces, or the small business in Lincoln Nebraska reconditioning tires. Regardless of location, country, or sector, each of these businesses makes their community better. Collectively, they make the world better – one small business at a time.
To me, I see the importance of each of the small business across our market as key to developing the and empowering the local economies. It is these businesses that form the bedrock of a strong community. We see these businesses as generators of opportunity, of local energy, of community and personal wealth. For example, NEF provided Mixin’s its first loan about three years ago for a rolled ice cream store. This weekend I attended the grand opening of their second store. The co-owners are hiring staff, making profits, and growing success. It is these businesses that line the main streets or our neighborhoods. They bring us the products and services that we seek while proving local jobs and opportunities. They bring character and flavor. Some will always remain small, others will grow. Each one adds to our place though its uniqueness and diversity. Each one creates a dynamic opportunity.
At the Nebraska Enterprise Fund, my current organization, we see each small business as a key part of the local environment. While the past year has placed significant challenges on these businesses, we have seem so many of them adapt and adjust. As we look forward, we want to applaud the small businesses of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa. We recognize the sacrifices each business has made to remain vibrant and create part of an eco-system that makes our overall community a better place.