Author: Ashley Turner
Following another amazing YP Summit, the YP Council and our Volunteer Engagement Committee has accelerated into action. Hopefully some of you were able to join us at Kitchen Council on March 29 to hear from a diverse group of entrepreneurs and resource providers to truly see the different faces of entrepreneurship in Omaha. Our engagement forums are meant to provide an opportunity for networking and to take a deep dive into our different focus areas (entrepreneurship & stem, community development and transit, diversity & inclusion, arts and culture and public engagement).
As this year’s Volunteer Engagement Chair, I am honored to work with a stellar group of young professionals who are passionate about Omaha and advancing YPs. All the planning for this event is in the hands of YPs, and Volunteer Engagement alongside Public Engagement are the only Council committees open to anyone, no need to apply for Council to participate!
When planning the entrepreneurship engagement forum, we wanted to engage both current entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who also still have traditional “9-5s” and those who maybe aren’t going to take that next step, but want to support our local businesses and economy. By inviting a mix of actual entrepreneurs and resources like No More Empty Pots and The Startup Collaborative across sectors including arts, nonprofits, retail, tech and consumer-based services, attendees were able to see all sides and answer the question “what does entrepreneurship look like to you?”
The committee is also eternally grateful to Kitchen Council for hosting our event and providing a look into a Chamber partnership in Council Bluffs. Kitchen Council is a kitchen incubator for food startups to grow their product on a larger scale, providing a commercial kitchen and training in everything from marketing their business to co-working opportunities. This program is another example of the importance of not putting entrepreneurship or start-ups in a “box.” We need more tech workers and I’m always looking for a new app to be developed to make my life easier – but that isn’t the only path to entrepreneurship. Our community and economy thrive when we support all kinds of entrepreneurs, from the barber who has also written a book and provides tips to other business owners (Arthur Lyle) to the college student opening a clothing boutique (Lemon Street Clothing) to the artist using his craft to discuss important local issues (Watie White).
I hope this post and our event encourages even more people to support local, and maybe even take that next step to opening their own business (whether part-time or full time). Below is a rundown of a few of the resources available to all YPs interested in this space.
- The Startup Collaborative
- The Start Center for Entrepreneurship
- Kitchen Council
- Omaha Community Foundation
- Nebraska Enterprise Fund
- Commerce Village
- UNO & UNL’s Entrepreneurship Programs
- Omaha Small Business Network
- No More Empty Pots
- Defy Ventures
- Department of Economic Development
We are also gearing up for our next engagement forum on arts and culture for May and would love to see you there! Feel free to connect with me online @ashleyraeturner or email me if you’d like to get more involved with the YPs and advocate for a better Omaha.