Love Small Town America Team Grows!

Jenny Russell joins Love Small Town America along with her associate, Luke Mahin.

Thanks to the continued support and enthusiasm for what Love Small Town America has to offer, we have recently expanded our team. Jenny Russell and Luke Mahin of JenRus Freelance have joined the other six members of the Love Small Town America core group to bring a heightened focus to serving Love Small Town America’s members and helping more small towns join the network and access an affordable web presence.  Continue reading

RedTire – Matching Businesses and Business Owners

RedTire is a new program from the KU School of Business that seeks to Redefine Retirement for business owners in rural Kansas communities.

At Love Small Town America, we consider ourselves matchmakers of a sort. We match businesses with employees via our job listings, we match potential citizens with new hometowns, and we match tourists with communities full of attractions that suit them to a tee. So, we were interested to learn of another matchmaking enterprise in our home state of Kansas.

When small town business owners age, they often shut the doors, taking with them the assets, experience, and wealth that business represented in the community. There are many reasons why this happens – but a lot of it comes down to basic economics – supply and demand. A new program called RedTire has been launched by the University of Kansas to offer one possible solution.

The RedTire program promotes their service as allowing business owners to redefine their retirement. The program matches rural business owners seeking an exit strategy with graduates from Kansas universities.

Candidates from both sides – businesses and potential successors – apply through the RedTire website or are referred to the program by third parties.

Ideally, the end result will be contract negotiations between successors and current owners to purchase existing businesses or make other arrangements to transition ownership.

The program is free and aims to help Kansas communities create transition opportunities to keep businesses alive and thriving. RedTire is new, so there aren’t any results to share, but there are an increasing number of attempts across the country to address this issue. We’ll be watching to see how RedTire progresses – so check back for an update!

We can’t help but think what an interesting complement this program – or something like it – provides for the Rural Opportunity Zone program. Theoretically, someone could move to a ROZ county, gaining access to tax credits and tuition reimbursement and possibly also create their own job by buying a business by engaging with RedTire – making the kinds of initiatives that are popping up across the state even more powerful. The future is taking shape before our eyes and there are definitely some interesting possibilities on the horizon.

What do you think? Is RedTire the kind of program that could make a difference?

Interested in applying?

RedTire Contact Information:

Wally Meyer
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
(785) 864-7583
wmeyerjr@ku.edu

Charlotte Tritch
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
(785) 864-7563
ctritch@ku.edu

ROZ Scholarship Applications Announced

You know how passionate we are about small town survival – and about the Rural Opportunity Zones program as a great way to recruit new residents to participating Kansas counties. That’s why we are so excited that the ROZ Scholarship Application is now open. We’ve been working with the Kansas Department of Commerce for some time now, and they agree that Love Small Town America gives small counties and towns the right kind of web presence. They have decided to offer scholarships to Kansas ROZ counties or towns within those counties to cover the cost of a 1-year membership on Love Small Town America. Can you believe that? Lucky ROZ applicants could receive a FREE webpage on LSTA as part of our network for a whole year. That is phenomenal!

This kind of support from state government is what makes us so proud to be from Kansas. We hope all the ROZ counties will feel the same and want to take advantage of the chance to join our network.

In the meantime, we put together a page on our site to help explain what the scholarship covers (and what it doesn’t), why you shouldn’t wait to turn in your application, and what the next steps are.

As always, we’re available to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’re so excited to realize that sometime this summer (fingers crossed) we’ll be joining a BUNCH of new communities to our growing family on the web. This means lots more exciting developments ahead, so watch our facebook page and twitter feed for the latest breaking news.

Links:

ROZ Webpage Scholarships

Joining Love Small Town America

Rural Opportunity Zones (KS Department of Commerce)

 

Startup Act – An Entrepreneur’s Perspective

Many of you may have heard of the Startup Act – Senator Jerry Moran and Senator Mark Warner’s bipartisan bill designed to jumpstart the economy by instituting five measures that would help increase entrepreneurial activity in various realms. As fellow Kansans and supporters of entrepreneurship, we recently responded when Senator Moran requested letters of support. Entrepreneurship has a *true* trickle down effect that benefits communities and we are living proof of that. We’d like to share with you the letter we sent to Senator Moran:

Dear Senator Moran,

My name is Nicole Godek. When I made the choice to leave corporate careers in graphic design to move home to my native small town of Grainfield, Kansas, I chose to do so for two reasons: 1.) The advantages of small town life; 2.) The means to establish a business that not only allows me the chance to earn a living for my family doing what I do best, but gives me the chance to make a difference. At the heart of it, entrepreneurship is personally satisfying and socially beneficial so when I go to work each morning on making Love Small Town America Inc., (www.lovesmalltownamerica.com) I am also working hard to add benefit to my community and giving it a legacy I can be proud to pass on to my children.

With Love Small Town America , I’ve used my graphic design skills to build a website that serves as a network to promote and catalog small towns and their resources. It serves as an important communication tool for small towns and their businesses – most of whom are locally-owned by entrepreneurs. It may not be easy for a metropolis to see the difference, but when I walk down main street in any small town across America, I see the difference a single entrepreneur can make and the hole they’d leave if they weren’t open for business. I also see the tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs to grow if given more support and resources, and the ripple effect this has in individual lives, communities, and economies.

Love Small Town America accomplishes three primary things; it provides a cost-effective, controllable way for communities to catalog and publicize their businesses, events, real estate, and more, it helps advertise what resources the community already has, and it helps advertise what assets the community would like to attract. Whether you are fleeing the city like I did and are looking for an available property in a community that suits your lifestyle, or are ready to open a new business in a town that needs your skills, Love Small Town America is able to help.

A lot of small towns have experienced a big surge of people leaving, but Love Small Town America is a place where people can go who want to escape from some of the plights of urban living and have the chance to follow their dreams.

I support the StartUp America Act and what it means for entrepreneurs – and future entrepreneurs – everywhere. My business makes a difference and provides needed services at a competitive price and I know others will as well. Entrepreneurship is good for me, good for my community, and good for America.

Sincerely,

Nicole Godek

CEO of Love Small Town America, Inc.”

 

If you agree, like we do, that taking concrete steps based in solid research to encourage entrepreneurial activity, you can share your opinions as well. Whether through the Startup Act or through other means, it is our duty to request our lawmakers enact policies that facilitate entrepreneurial growth. It’s time to stop stealing big companies from one another in expensive economic development ploys and to grow our own. That’s the way we grow jobs and generate net growth in the economy.

We’d love to hear what you think, though. Are we on the right path – or just plain crazy? Entrepreneurship is having a hey-day at the moment, and we think it’s about time. Is entrepreneurship a buzzword or is this the way to build a stronger America? Let us know in the comments.