Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Western Nebraska Community College in SidneyJamie Bright
Photo Credit: Courtesy of SourceLink Nebraska
Interview with: Paula Abbott, Alliance & Sidney Campuses Executive Director at Western Nebraska Community College
What is the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center?
The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center helps entrepreneurs start new businesses in the Cheyenne County area.
The I & E Center has four office spaces. There are three offices for individuals or smaller companies, and one large office space for companies that have more employees. Each office space is furnished with desks and chairs for business use. Beyond the offices designated for the current businesses in the space, the I & E Center also includes a variety of conference rooms, an individual telephone booth, and an open co-working space for community members to gather.
The “telephone booth” is a unique space perfect for virtual meetings or confidential calls. The open co-working spaces are the perfect place to network with other business professionals. The available spaces create an open environment where ideas flourish!
There are a variety of spaces in the center that are perfect for diverse meeting needs. There is one large meeting room that can accommodate up to 10 people, a smaller conference room with space for two to four people, and two individual “huddle” rooms that can be used as one-on-one meeting spaces or as quiet individual workspaces.
What need do you fill in the entrepreneurial and business ecosystem in Nebraska?
The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center was formed in 2018 in response to the hundreds of displaced workers in the southern Nebraska Panhandle over the last few years, and is meant to help entrepreneurs start new businesses in the Cheyenne County area. Approved applicants to the I & E Center receive two years of free rent and utilities, and access to a wide range of business resources. In return, these start-up businesses agree to transition to a new or existing brick and mortar store front in the community.
We want to help entrepreneurs reach their goals and enhance business opportunities in the Sidney area. Contact us with any questions you have concerning office spaces and ask if you qualify for our rent-free space option.
Additionally, the WNCC Sidney Campus hosts a number of business resource meetings throughout the Panhandle to introduce small business owners to the resources available in the area.
What thoughts do you have about the future of entrepreneurship and small business in Nebraska?
It’s going to continue to grow – we need to focus on entrepreneurship and small business due to the lack of labor force across the state. I’ve also seen a shift in the upcoming generations – they are very entrepreneurial, want to work for themselves, and are creative.
How will SourceLink Nebraska help you connect with entrepreneurs and businesses?
It’s what we needed years ago – I’m glad to see it come to fruition now. It’s a way for businesses to link to resources they might need. It’s like an online version of our business resource meetings – people can go right to SourceLink Nebraska and click on what they need.
Paula Abbott is the Alliance & Sidney Campuses Executive Director at Western Nebraska Community College. She is also the driving force behind the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center and the regional business resource meetings.
Email: [email protected]
Location: 371 College Drive, Sidney, NE 69162
Visit their profile in the SourceLink Nebraska Resource Navigator!