SIDNEY – In February of this year, the City of Sidney applied for a Rural Business Development Grant on behalf of E3. 

E3 – Energizing, Entrepreneurial Ecosystems – is seeking a full-time technical writer position.  

In the July 9 City Council meeting, City Manager David Scott said the City was awarded a grant to fund a grant/technical writer to assist small businesses. 

“The City partnered with E3 to do a Rural Business Development (RBDG) Grant to hopefully hire a technical writer and grant writer to help some of the new businesses in town. The position, if we were so to get the money, which we did, will be housed at WNCC and work alongside the other E3 members and staff,” Scott said. 

The $90,000 RBDG grant would fund the position. Scott said the grant/technical writer would help new entrepreneurs and existing businesses get more state and federal funding and resources. 

Melissa Norgard, a member of E3, thanked the city council for its support of E3 and the grant process. 

“We were here back in February and asked for you guys’ permission to use the City of Sidney as the applicant for the USDA grant. We’re super happy that we were awarded the grant funds for the City of Sidney to hire the grant/technical writer for the E3 group. Obviously, one of the biggest concerns and hurdles that small business owners face is starting and writing the business plan, and then also finding grant funds out there to push their business forward. We’re really hopeful that this position will help those small business owners,” she said. 

Sarah Sinnett, also a volunteer member of E3, explains what E3 is and how it got started. 

“E3 stands for Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. This was an experiment started with the Nebraska Community Foundation about three years ago. Throughout that time, our focus is on growing small businesses, and supporting them, and entrepreneurs, in any way that we can,” she said. 

She said the E3 group has heard a lot from the community, including the need for a “one-stop-shop.” 

“That’s when we hired our Navigator position. Alisha Juelfs fills that right now. That’s been a tremendous resource for the community. Since Alisha has been in role a little over a year, there has been more than $155,000 that local businesses has obtained through writing their business plan and obtaining money that’s up for grabs to help them open their business. Additionally, we’ve also heard there’s a lot more we need to do to engage our youth to understand this could be a career path for them. As a result, we’ve launched our Youth Entrepreneurship Competition, which will be entering into year-two this year,” Sinnett said today. 

She added the biggest feedback E3 is getting from business owners is they are passionate about their business, they just don’t all have the skill set of writing.  

Sinnett said in the city council meeting that Norgard will be filling the role of grant/technical writer. She said Norgard has successfully written multi-million-dollar grants.