Allen, Nebraska – A relationship with the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) that began in the 1990s continues to yield professional advice and business opportunities for Kevin Connot and his wife, Barb, co-owners of Genesis Enterprises, LLC in Allen, Neb.
In 2007, the Connots purchased the assets of a tent, canopy and tarp manufacturing company in South Sioux City and launched Genesis Enterprises. The following year, the couple moved the business to Allen to take advantage of a more affordable building and a good labor force, Kevin Connot says.
Connot became aware of the NBDC in the mid-1990s when he was studying for his MBA degree at Wayne State College and was referred to Loren Kucera, director of the NBDC center in Wayne. “I helped with some small business clients for him,” Connot says. “He was a great person to have as a mentor. I learned a lot from him through the years, and we still keep in touch.”
Connot continued to tap into the resources made available by NBDC as he sought ways to expand his business. In 2017, he attended a Strategically Fund Your Innovation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) event, and in 2018 attended a Capture Planning Workshop in South Sioux City with NBDC consultant Dick Uhing.
Most recently, Connot has worked with NBDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) consultants to find and pursue government contracting opportunities.
In 2020, PTAC consultant Meghann Buresh, of NBDC’s northeast Nebraska office in Norfolk, assisted Connot with updated market research. Buresh also helped identify additional North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes and revised Genesis Enterprises’ federal BidMatch profile to improve bid solicitation matches.
Connot also worked with Josh Nichol-Caddy, NBDC technology commercialization director, regarding resources from the U.S. Department of Energy and making introductions to access them.
Genesis Enterprises offers standard products including tarps, canopies, hoop buildings, awnings, machine covers and frame tents, along with custom designed products using steel frames and various industrial fabric covers. The company also is developing innovative new products, including a motorized mobile livestock shade to cover grazing dairy animals. “The shade will move with the grazing animals to keep them out of the direct sun, which will reduce heat stress and corresponding decreased milk production,” Connot says.
Growth through innovation is a priority for Genesis Enterprises, Connot says. “One of our most innovative production accomplishments has been our transition from using sewing machines to nearly exclusively fabric welding, which heat seals materials together without the use of any thread,” he says.
Genesis Enterprises also has solar panels on the building’s roof that provide most of the energy for the business.
The continuing relationship with NBDC and PTAC consultants is having a positive impact on Genesis Enterprises, Connot says. “They have helped us find several business opportunities, including a contract with the Kansas Department of Roads to provide covers for its 40-by-60 hoop buildings,” he says.
“From paperwork to federal registrations to billing, they have been very proactive in helping us navigate the various government procurement systems,” he says. “We’ve been very happy with their level of knowledge and their encouragement.”
The Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) helps Nebraska businesses start, grow and develop, by strengthening Nebraska businesses for a healthy economy and prosperous communities. NBDC is a University of Nebraska at Omaha center that provides confidential consulting business development services across Nebraska to entrepreneurs and business owners for the life cycle of their business. NBDC partners with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Wayne State College, and Chadron State College to deliver its services statewide. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the U.S. Department of Commerce (EDA), and other federal, state and private organizations support NBDC. Visit nbdc.unomaha.edu for more information.
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