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LINCOLN -- Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) is now accepting referrals from Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) for two new programs kicking off 2014—an Economic Gardening® program launched in conjunction with the Edward Lowe Foundation and the National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG and the Ice House Entrepreneurship program.

The Economic Gardening® program1 offers a new way of thinking about supporting second-stage growth companies, and lets business owners know how valuable they are to their local economies.

Economic Gardening® addresses strategic growth challenges, including developing new markets, refining business models, and gaining access to competitive intelligence. More information is available at http://edwardlowe.org/tools-programs/economic-gardening/

DED will ultimately select and fund five Nebraska companies to receive Economic Gardening services in the NCEG program.

ESOs (chambers of commerce, universities, small business development center, technology councils, and economic development agencies) may refer second-stage companies that meet the following eligibility criteria:

• For-profit, privately-held companies headquartered in Nebraska for at least the past two years.

•Generate annual revenue between $750,000 and $50 million.

•Employ between 6 and 99 full-time employees.

•Demonstrate growth in employment and/or revenue during any two of the past five years.

•In addition to local markets, provides products or services to regional, national and international markets.

•Are directly referred by an ESO.

The Ice House Entrepreneurship program2 is designed to inspire and engage participants in the fundamental aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and the limitless opportunities such a mindset can offer. Learners are immersed in entrepreneurial experiences that not only enable them to develop this specific skill set, but specific way of thinking.

Sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation3 and created by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative,4 the Ice House Entrepreneurship program has garnered international attention from academic and economic development organizations. A short “sketchbook” on the program is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NBnoVrLFPU

Participants may range in experience from newly-minted young adult entrepreneurs with little or no experience to long-time workforce professionals. All should have a willingness and interest in exploring and learning about the entrepreneurial mindset. Potential students also must be referred by an ESO.

For information about either program, contact Nisha Avey at 402-471-1446, or nisha.avey@nebraska.gov

About the Edward Lowe Foundation and NCEG: The Edward Lowe Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship through research, recognition and educational programs that are delivered through entrepreneur support organizations. The National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG) is a partnership between the foundation and Chris Gibbons who originated the concept of economic gardening. NCEG delivers economic gardening services and maintains national standards in training and certification for both regional and statewide networks. For information, visit www.edwardlowe.org

The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program was developed by The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative in collaboration with Clifton Taulbert’s Building Community Institute and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and is among the largest private foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2 billion.

The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative is an organization dedicated to providing interactive real-world entrepreneurship education programs for individuals and organizations worldwide. Multi-media online education programs enable participants to learn from the firsthand knowledge and experience drawn from a wide variety of successful real-world entrepreneurs. The recently released program - Mindset: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial IQ is now being promoted through a partnership with The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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