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Get to Know the Nebraska Department of Economic Development

By Governor Dave Heineman

August 7, 2009

Dear Fellow Nebraskans:

Did you know that in recent years Nebraska has been recognized on a number of national business rankings? In 2008, our state ranked as the fourth best place for jobs by The 2008 annual rankings compiled by Business Facilities magazine named Nebraska fourth best in quality of life and fifth for best education climate. Nebraska made the Forbes magazine list of top 10 states for business in 2008, and we were a Pollina Top 10 Pro-business State for 2009.

These are just a few of the positive marks our state has received recently. These rankings are important because they help signal to companies looking to expand that Nebraska is an attractive place for new business development. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development plays an important role in fostering a vibrant business climate. The professionalism and outreach efforts of our state economic development team were highlighted in the Pollina report as one of the strengths of doing business in Nebraska.

The department helps existing businesses thrive and expand, attracts new businesses and investment, supports local communities in their efforts to attract new investment and residents, supports entrepreneurs, and encourages new tourism opportunities – all of which helps advance Nebraska’s status as a competitive player in the global market.

The department’s business development team focuses on recruiting new employers to meet Nebraska’s growing workforce needs and identifying opportunities for new business or research investments across the state. Businesses of all sizes have tools to expand and locate in our state because of a competitive menu of incentive programs known as the Nebraska Advantage and Super Advantage.

Efforts to market these incentives have helped 190 businesses decide to locate or expand in Nebraska. There are also opportunities aimed at small, start-up companies through the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act, encouraging businesses to invest in Nebraska workers through job training programs and opportunities that attract development to our rural areas through the Value Added Agriculture Act.

On a global scale, business development specialists work to attract foreign investment to Nebraska and help Nebraska companies do business in international markets. In 2006 we opened an office in Tokyo, which serves as a hub for international business operations in Japan. Last year we invited international business contacts to Nebraska for a Reverse Trade Mission that resulted in new relationships in several foreign countries.

Another important part of our economic efforts is the work of the department’s community development team which helps provide quality, affordable housing options for Nebraska families. This team works with communities to help in updating public infrastructure which is an essential part of a vibrant community.

From Scottsbluff to Omaha and Valentine to Republican City, the department awarded more than $19 million in FY 2008 to rehabilitate housing, build new homes, and provide assistance to new homeowners and renters. The New Neighborhoods program identified several Nebraska communities that have attracted new business development, and the department is working hand-in-hand with community leaders to address the increased need for quality housing.

Public infrastructure projects include everything from updating public water and wastewater systems, redeveloping historic and downtown properties, or building essential community services, including fire stations, libraries and day care centers.

The department’s tourism team is promoting Nebraska’s recreational and leisure opportunities through social media and online sites like Facebook and Twitter. Eco- and agri-tourism efforts support the growing number of guest ranches, pumpkin patches, wineries, bird watching, and opportunities for recreation along the state’s river ways and scenic byways, while other tourism programs promote festivals and destinations through marketing grants for local groups.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development plays a key role in promoting our state as a great place to live, work, play, and grow a business. Our state continues to move forward because of their efforts to promote the endless possibilities Nebraska has to offer.

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