Bright renovated a barn on the edge of the village of Bushnell, Neb., where her parents lived, transforming it into a used book store and coffee shop called “The Sisters Grimm,” which opened its doors in June 2011.
To start her business, Bright was able to call upon the support of others—her parents’ experience with small business paperwork (they are both writers and performers), her stepfather’s experience as owner of a handyman business, and help with a business plan from the local volunteers at SCORE.
She says she could have utilized more resources to support her efforts, but at that time wasn’t aware of the services available statewide. That is where SourceLink Nebraska would have made a difference.
“There were many times where SourceLink Nebraska would have been beneficial, helping me find information online and who to talk to for sales tax information, health licensing information, business structure guidance and more,” she says.
Well-established elsewhere but in its infancy here, SourceLink Nebraska is a statewide platform that connects key service providers and resources supporting economic and community development.
Similar to NetWork Kansas (a rural platform) and KC SourceLink (an urban platform), SourceLink Nebraska will increase efficiency and allow for broader statewide strategies to expand entrepreneurial and economic impact. NBDC serves as its host. “My goal as the SourceLink Nebraska Network Navigator is to help other entrepreneurs access resources easily, to find the right resource at the right time, particularly to allow those in rural areas to have access to the same guidance as those who live in urban areas,” Bright says. “Boosting our state economy one business at a time, revitalizing our small towns, will help to grow Nebraska exponentially.”
Scott Asmus, the SourceLink Nebraska Network Builder, says Bright adds a unique perspective as SourceLink Nebraska Network Navigator.
“It’s one thing to understand processes and barriers for Nebraska entrepreneurs and business owners, but it is completely different knowing personally what it is like,” Asmus says. “Jamie can truly relate to being an entrepreneur in rural Nebraska and the challenges faced each day.”
Asmus says the SourceLink Nebraska team is driven to make connecting more efficient for both businesses and resource partners.
“Nebraska’s economic and community development ecosystem has a wealth of resources and top-notch professionals statewide to assist entrepreneurs and business owners,” he says. “Jamie can assist in creating connections and reduce obstacles.”
Bright grew up in Nebraska, moved to Colorado Springs for college and then moved to Chicago after graduating. She worked in the Pritzker Legal Research Center, then moved closer to home due to her mother’s health.
“I completed a year of service with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, where I was based in Denver but traveled across the country tackling disaster relief and service projects,” she says. “I then decided to stay in the nonprofit/service space for another year, taking an AmeriCorps VISTA position in Casper, Wyo., working with a literacy program. At the end of my year with VISTA, I was considering graduate school in library science, but wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life.”
Rather than studying library science, she decided to move back to Bushnell and begin a new chapter by opening a bookstore.
Most recently, she has worked to further the goals of SourceLink Nebraska by becoming involved in economic development networks and organizations throughout the panhandle region.
“SourceLink Nebraska will be tremendously helpful pulling all these resources together for entrepreneurs here in the state and those outside Nebraska interested in starting a business here,” Bright says. “I want to do all I can to help guide these new businesses on a course for success.”
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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