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The History and Mission of GROW Nebraska

GROW Nebraska™ believes there is nothing more important in sustaining a business than marketing. Currently we are the only non-profit market access program in the state. We work closely with our members on an individual basis to find out what each member needs to take their business to the next level and connect to the global market place.

GROW Nebraska™ is an Entrepreneurial Service Organization, which is membership-based and driven. GROW provides "entrepreneurial coaching" and market access opportunities to its members. Entrepreneurial coaching includes initial consultations, counseling, product evaluation and market access assistance. GROW Nebraska’s™ goal is to connect entrepreneurs and small businesses to the world marketplace.

One aspect that makes GROW Nebraska™ truly unique is that we allow members to choose from our many services. They may choose to participate in everything or just pay for and become involved in the select few that works best for them. Instead of forcing one "cookie-cutter" option, GROW encourages our members to develop a plan that will benefit their business the most.


GROW Nebraska’s Mission is to create sustainable economic development through business training, technical assistance, promotion, and access to markets. Creating impact opportunities so anyone can live in Anywhere, Nebraska and make a sustainable living. 


Since GROW Nebraska’s inception in 1998, the impact has never wavered: To be the premier nonprofit that empowers entrepreneurs through exceptional training and market access opportunities.


GROW Nebraska is a 501(c) 3 non-profit Entrepreneurial Service Organization for Nebraska entrepreneurial businesses. It was established in 1998 under the Central Plains Foundation as a statewide outreach program. Headquartered in the Central Plains Development Center in Holbrook, Nebraska, this program focuses on building successful Nebraska businesses one at a time. In 1995, Central Plains Foundation, Inc. received a USDA Rural Development Grant to create a business plan and solidify objectives. After significant research into similar state-based programs and hosting a showcase event in November 1996, the GROW Nebraska™ Program officially began accepting members in 1998 and created the first annual GROW Nebraska™ Market. The initial membership included 61 businesses and five services. It currently has over 350 members and offers over 20 services. 

GROW Nebraska™ has received support from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to expand its services aimed at helping entrepreneurs boost their profits. A statewide Board of Directors was created in 2003 to govern the program.

"We believed in the whole concept of buying local long before it was the 'cool' thing to do," says CEO Janell Anderson Ehrke. "It's not always easy to compete with large international companies, but we realize the value buying locally has for our small business owners, for our local economies and on minimizing our carbon footprint on our world."