Embolden Network owners, Dayana Hurtado and Alejandra Valdez

Embolden Network Links Entrepreneurial Spirits Through Monthly Networking, Educational Events

Photo Credit: Dayana Hurtado and Alejandra Valdez

Written by Nick Schinker

Entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs is the idea behind the Embolden Network, a vibrant organization founded by two small business owners, Dayana Hurtado and Alejandra Valdez.

Hurtado is a social media marketer, web designer and digital strategist who in April 2021 founded Supera Designs. Valdez is the owner of Viva Fit Kitchen, a Latin-inspired meal preparation and catering company. The two met when Valdez hired Hurtado to redesign her company website.

“During our meetings, we started talking about the struggles we faced as entrepreneurs,” Valdez recalls. “As entrepreneurs, we share a passion for our ideas, but many of us lack financial and other basic business knowledge. We thought, what if we bring together other entrepreneurs so we could bounce ideas off each other; find out what is working and what isn’t?”

With that initial goal in mind, the two women founded Embolden Network and held its first event in May 2022.

Hurtado says the Embolden Network events focus on connecting entrepreneurs and providing educational tools to help new and growing businesses.

“We have three types of events,” she explains. “One is open networking, where we split into groups to spark a deeper discussion of our goals and challenges. We also host workshops with specialized guests who talk about topics ranging from website design, marketing, legal issues or social media; topics that resonate with our audience. The third is a panel discussion with established business owners who share their experiences.”

Embolden Network schedules monthly events at different locations, often partnering with businesses to host the get-togethers. Typically, from 25 to 30 people attend, Valdez says.

Hurtado says Embolden Network utilizes several resources to promote its events, including Eventbrite and SourceLink Nebraska.

SourceLink Nebraska is a statewide platform that connects entrepreneurs and business owners to resources that help start, scale or accelerate businesses. The Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) is the host for the program.

Since launching in November 2021, SourceLink Nebraska has grown significantly as a resource hub for entrepreneurs and business owners across the state. The program website now showcases nearly 950 partner organization resource profiles and provides guides and a video library tailored to business needs.

SourceLink Nebraska also lists local events for networking and business development. In 2023, SourceLink has made nearly 6,000 direct referrals to resource partners, in addition to more than 100,000 referrals through its search tool, The Resource Navigator®, according to Scott Asmus, Program Director. Asmus notes that SourceLink Nebraska continues to connect entrepreneurs and business owners to the tools, knowledge and organizations that can support their business journey.

“Dayana and Alejandra have forged an initiative for addressing the distinctive challenges faced by Nebraska entrepreneurs,” Asmus says “Identifying the demand for supportive entrepreneurial networking and education, they took action and created the Embolden Network.

“An ongoing evolution of the Embolden Network promises to make lasting contributions to Nebraska’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and I eagerly anticipate its continued growth,” he says. “Dayana and Alejandra’s story is a shining example of how Nebraska has the supportive community needed to build businesses.”

The Embolden Network has a diverse audience and is hoping to expand its outreach by becoming a non-profit organization, Hurtado says. “We’ve seen the support grow within our group of entrepreneurs, and their confidence grow as well,” she says.

Valdez says they hope to take that enthusiasm to a wider audience, “and expand our services as well, working with fellow entrepreneurs on a one-on-one basis.”

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