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2nd Rural Social Enterprise conference hosted at Gering Civic Center Wednesday

2nd Rural Social Enterprise conference hosted at Gering Civic Center Wednesday

The Panhandle Partnership and Panhandle Area Development District were hosting a conference Wednesday until 4:00 p.m. at the Gering Civic Center.

Rural Social Enterprise 2017: Local Business Solutions for Lasting Social Impact was focusing on the innovative area of social enterprise. Social enterprise addresses social concerns through a business model, in either a non-profit agency or a business. In rural communities, social enterprise presents an opportunity to solve social and economic problems and sustain communities while decreasing dependence on government and private foundation grants.

PADD Regional Planner Daniel Bennett told KNEB News the conference was featuring three plenary sessions.

Keynote speaker Tim Mittan, author of “The Pocket Business Coach: Creating and Enjoying an Entrepreneurial Life,” reminds his audiences that entrepreneurs are people, not businesses and that the life of an entrepreneur is not always an easy one. Mittan will share strategies to overcome these challenges to promote a much-needed work-life balance for today’s entrepreneurs.

Panelists from the Panhandle Partnership’s Greater Goods and Innovations and Investments working groups were sharing local examples of social enterprise solutions and the ways in which community partnerships can promote regional solutions.

Tamra Ryan from the Women’s Bean Project in Denver, Colorado is the current board chair for the Social Enterprise Alliance and will close the conference with current trends in social enterprise from around the country.

Break-out sessions are providing an opportunity to hear from people who operate social enterprise endeavors.

Presenters for the day include Craig Cegielski from Cardinal Manufacturing in Strum, WI who highlights a successful social enterprise within a school district; Tamra Ryan, CEO of the Women’s Bean Project in Denver, CO which seeks to support marginalized women through an innovative social enterprise business; Greg Ptacek of Johnnie Byrd Brewing Co. in Wayne, NE who discusses his B-corp business and some of the advantages and disadvantages to various structures of social enterprise operations; and representatives from Pacha Soap in Hastings, NE sharing their focus on buying local products in order to support clean water initiatives in developing nations.

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