Rawlins County - Home Town competitiveness Program

Rural Entrepreneur Success Stories Popping Up In Small Towns Across NE, CO, and KS Thanks to The Home Town Competitiveness Program


   The Home Town Competitiveness (HTC) pilot project began in 2002 in Valley County, Nebraska. With a population of 4,647, Valley County was the perfect picture of a declining Great Plains community - losing people, jobs, and assets to more urban areas.

  Based upon four independent strategies, HTC focuses on nurturing local enterprise and developing entrepreneurial activities, which regenerate the local economy. It also places great importance on the development of strategies for hometown kids to remain in or return to their communities as adult entrepreneurs, wage earners and families.

  In Valley County, Nebraska, it is estimated that within the next decade nearly $130 million in assets will transfer from the older generation to the younger generation, many of which live in urban areas. A key strategy of HTC is to "capture" a small portion of this intergenerational wealth transfer and hold these assets as community endowed funds. The earned interest fuels future community building efforts.

  Thus, this overall strategic approach involves a continuous loop of developing leadership, cultivating hometown philanthropy, supporting entrepreneurs and attracting youth.

  And how is Valley County doing? Splendidly! Many activities are underway and they are actually exceeding their goal of retaining 5% of the area’s 10 year wealth transfer. Their current community foundation endowment has grown to $6.7 million. All this with a population of only 4,647.

  The Home Town Competitiveness approach to long-term rural community revitalization goes beyond traditional industrial recruitment for economic development. Instead, it focuses on four interdependent strategies that are based on local resources and are adaptable in nearly every rural community and Atwood is no exception.

  In this week’s Square Deal Mary Holle hit it right on the head. We are telling our kids to go out in the real world to have a better life and if they come home after obtaining an education they are failures. To go further we tell our young people that have chosen to come back, to stay or move here from other communities that they are unproven, unqualified or not worthy. This attitude has to stop now or we will be a cattle guard at the junction of highway 25 and 36. People with this attitude are naïve to popular culture. Watch TV, go to the movies, listen your kids who are in other parts of the state or country. They want a better quality of life. They will sacrifice $$’s to come back, because a lower cost of living and technology is leveling the playing field. Dorothy couldn’t have said it better in 1939, "Toto there is no place like home!"

  Atwood needs to send a 3 person delegation to one of these Home Town Competitiveness Seminars and then plan on hosting one. We already have the Second Century Fund and The Ace Foundation in place cultivating hometown philanthropy. Now we need to develop leaders, support our current entrepreneurs and encourage our youth to come home! The costs per person to attend are $500. Wamego, KS just had a seminar and Holyoke, CO is organizing one for April 2005. For more information about (HTC), interested in attending the (HTC) seminar or helping with the costs please call Chris Sramek @ 626-8066.


Home Town Competitiveness:

A Blueprint for Community Builders

1. Mobilize Local Leaders

2. Energize Entrepreneurs

3. Capture Wealth Transfer

4. Retain and Attract Young Families


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