Shawn Kaskie, Center for Rural Research and Development director, 308.865.8135

Carrie Stithem, assistant to the director for the Center for Rural Research and Development, 308.865.8199 or

The Center for Rural Research and Development at the University of Nebraska at Kearney has launched a competition for the top three business plans for rural Nebraska.

The first ever Central Nebraska Business Plan Competition will give away $13,500 in prize money– $10,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $500 for third place. Individuals must submit their business plan via mail or e-mail no later than midnight on Sunday, March 11. There is no entry fee, and individuals can submit plans for more than one idea, but they cannot submit multiple plans for a single idea.

Plans are to be submitted by email to or by regular mail to: Central Nebraska Business Plan Competition, Attn: Carrie Stithem,

University of Nebraska at Kearney, 1917 West 24th St., WTSC 125E, Kearney, NE 68849. Details are available at:

All business plans submitted by the deadline will be evaluated, and individuals with the top five ideas will be asked to give a 10 -15 minute presentation on Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in the UNK Nebraskan Student Union, Room 312. The presentation event is free and open to the public. All applicants must be able to present in person on Wednesday to be eligible for an award. A panel of business professionals will evaluate the presentations.

Applicants may be at any stage in their business, as long as they are able to submit a complete business plan. All applicants must be 18-years-old or older, a legal resident of the United States, and all businesses, proposed or existing, must be located or willing to locate in rural Nebraska. Rural Nebraska is defined as any county outside the Omaha or Lincoln Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The $10,000 first prize will be awarded after the competition when a background and credit check, additional due diligence and final negotiations with the owners have been approved by all parties. The second place prize in the amount of $3,000 is sponsored by the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC), and the$500 third place prize is sponsored by the Economic Development Council of Buffalo County.

For rules, guidelines, helpful links and additional information, visit or contact Carrie Stithem at 308.865.8199 or