February 2019 MEDC Director Update

AREA News, News, Photo Feature - 03.04.19



Last spring, the college hosted a one day leadership conference with a variety of local speakers. I still think about Clark Bates and Kyle Dellevoet talking about the thoughtful leadership transition at McCook Christian Church. They used the illustration of the 4×100 relay race and successful baton hand offs. For a relay team to be successful, they have to execute clean baton handoffs .It happens with both runners being at full speed when the exchange happens.

This isn’t just a good illustration for leadership transitions, but also local business transitions. Fortunately, I’ve seen this happen multiple times in the last couple months in McCook. McCook Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has approved two Growth Fund loans as gap financing to help in the transition of two businesses. In each case, the owner selling has worked with the new buyers to get them up to speed. It has been a partnership to make this happen as opposed to just a straight transaction.

It is exciting we are able to provide assistance in making these business transitions happen. Through the Growth Fund loan fund, we provide gap financing for business startups, expansions, or transitions. An individual or business needs to work with a traditional lender for the majority of financing, but then MEDC is able to fill the extra gap to allow the transaction to happen. It is more complicated than this, but is a resource to local people who are looking at start-up, expansion, or transition.

Another exciting event last month that showed a transition of small business knowledge was the Hormel Competition Advisory Night. Twelve (12) contestants in the Hormel Competition attended a two hour session where first, they heard from professionals in banking and law. Then, we had half a dozen experienced entrepreneurs meet with the contestants in small groups. This allowed the contestants to talk more about their business idea. They received feedback from someone who has been successful in starting and running a business. The veteran entrepreneurs were able to give advice, caution, and help create partnerships with others in the community. It was exciting to see the knowledge passed from one generation of business owners to the next.

Along with assisting with transitions and entrepreneurship, we are also working to develop components of our strategic plan. Here’s a quick update:

Retail Recruitment – The board heard proposals from two companies that help communities connect with national retailers. The board will consider moving forward with one of these companies at the March meeting. MEDC also is continuing to look at developing programs to help new local retailers get started strong.

Housing – MEDC has worked with the communities of Cambridge, Benkelman, and with Southwest Nebraska Community Betterment Corporation to submit two state trust housing program grants to try to earn awards that will provide for new housing construction and additional down payment assistance for first time homebuyers. These regional partnerships make for stronger grant applications and allow us to learn from the expertise of housing experts throughout southwest Nebraska.

Workforce development and recruitment – We have received positive feedback on our McCook promotion video that is available on-line. We encourage everyone to share to get our name out digitally. We continue to meet with the McCook Community 4 Kids team. We have strong daycare providers in McCook already and we’re looking at how we can improve access to early childhood education as it is difficult to find infant care in the community. This has created a challenge for working parents and their employers. There will be a community survey available in the near future and we hope you will take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Keystone – Most of floors 1-4 of the Keystone are full, but we still have two spots available for rent. If you are looking for space, let us know.

As always, if you have thoughts or questions, let me know at 308-345-1200 or andy@mccookne.org.