Those interested in supporting local businesses and communities with innovative new ideas are encouraged to attend the third annual Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference April 24-25 in Beatrice. The conference is presented by Nebraska Extension’s Community Vitality Initiative with support from NGage, Main Street Beatrice and the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce.

The conference will provide an opportunity to learn from economic and community development professionals across the state and country. Keynote speakers include Dell Gines, senior community advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – Omaha Branch and David Weaver of the Orton Family Foundation. 

Thirty breakout sessions will be held across six tracks:

Creating a vibrant downtown,


Diversifying the economy,

Collaborative development,

Groundwork for change,

Community investments and civic engagement.

Session content will provide a holistic look at how to foster a supportive entrepreneurial culture in communities and how a community can develop its sense of place.

The conference features a unique design with its “noon to noon” schedule, breakout sessions held in local venues across downtown, and time to experience Beatrice and its assets. Also, the conference gives participants networking opportunities, to make connections and share best practices, during the evening event at Homestead National Monument.

Early bird registration is $80 per person until April 15, with the price then increasing to $100. Communities sending three or more attendees are eligible for a discount. The Rural Futures Institute is sponsoring a student discount rate of $40. For more information about discount rates, contact Jason Weigle at 402-768-7212 or

For more information, or to register, visit