Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
In March of 2011, I announced a new partnership to help strengthen Nebraska small businesses and startup enterprises through mentorship. Joining me in this effort was the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and the Gallup Organization.
This highly targeted, strategic intervention for entrepreneurs is helping create a new generation of homegrown business success stories in Nebraska. The initiative combines business-to-business guides and a consulting program called the Entrepreneur Acceleration System created by The Gallup Organization to help early-stage entrepreneurs and established firms grow their enterprises.
The program encourages business growth by creating value-based relationships with customers through engaged employees, leading to revenue growth. Growth in revenue, in turn, leads to sustainable job creation, which is at the heart of the Entrepreneur Acceleration System program.
More than 50 volunteer small business and economic development leaders have been selected and trained by Gallup to work closely with individual entrepreneurs in the 12-month, talent-based development program. These Guides will continue working with start-up business leaders, and leaders of small and medium size companies statewide.
Guides offer advice to business owners as they confront challenges in growing their enterprises, ranging from securing startup capital and developing new products to building their leadership teams and transferring ownership of existing businesses. This effort has the potential to help 400 businesses statewide over the next few years.
The program has grown quickly during its first two years. In 2011, 113 companies and 621 managers participated, impacting an estimated 2,985 employees. More than 160 companies and 1,000 managers are currently participating in the 2012 Entrepreneur Acceleration System cohort, impacting nearly 5,000 employees across Nebraska.
Impacts are already being felt as witnessed by the following testimonies:
*LiteForm Technologies in South Sioux City has taken what it's learned so far through Entrepreneur Acceleration System to focus more on engaging customers, resulting in one customer making its biggest order yet--$220,000. The company now expects to hire three additional employees during the next 18 months.
*Key performance indicators for Intellicom of Kearney show a 24% increase in revenue, a 75% increase in profits, and a 24% increase in employee productivity during the first half of 2011.
*In 2011, Hudl of Lincoln grew from 18 full-time to 41 full-time employees while the client base grew from 2,200 high schools to more than 5,000 as the company acquired its top competitior.
The bottom line is that Nebraska wants to be a top ally for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and this partnership is helping us deliver a more coordinated, intensive effort to provide the guidance and expertise that helps small businesses be successful.
Gallup's involvement makes it all the more unique in that it combines the behavioral economic research and management expertise of a leading Nebraska company to help benefit startup companies in ways that are typically only available to large corporations. As a company that has personally made the transition from small business to industry leader, the experience Gallup brings to the table is invaluable.
As high-growth potential entrepreneurs apply the behavioral economic principles and tools to their companies, they grow, they hire and jobs are created. This is an outstanding example of the collaborative partnerships that exist in Nebraska, and the innovative way we are willing to work together to move Nebraska forward.