North O business leaders point to revitalization for renaissance

North O business leaders point to revitalization for renaissance

There is renewed pressure to revitalize North Omaha, starting with help for new entrepreneurs trying to get on their feet. Douglas County already shares some federal funds from the American Rescue Plan with business support organizations. North Omaha has great potential, but business leaders say supporting new ventures will be necessary to get the community where it wants to be. For companies and start-ups in the area that want to succeed, the needs are very clear. “Accessing credit and capital, getting technical assistance with website design, accounting services, setting up operations, hiring – those are the things we’ve heard fairly consistently with the companies we’ve talked to over the years” said Willie Barney, the president/CEO of the Empowerment Network, who co-founded the Carver Legacy Center, which focuses on building wealth for African Americans starting on the north side of Omaha. has launched more than 300 companies here in the past decade and now state and local governments are making unprecedented investments here as well. “Launching them is one thing, but how do you scale and grow? And I think that’s where we are now,” Barney said. One way the city wants to help Omaha is by selling nearly half a million dollars worth of real estate for a new music and arts venue in North Omaha. on 24th and Lake. “It is a place that will nurture the developmental spirit of our young people and shape critical-thinking young people,” said Dana Murray, NOMA’s executive director. Murray told City Council on Tuesday that greater economic prosperity can be achieved achieved by bringing people to North Omaha. “We need to build destinations to invite the rest of Omaha and what we need to sell — and that’s our culture,” said Murray. NOMA says the capital campaign will cost about $20 million .

There is renewed pressure to revitalize North Omaha, starting with help for new entrepreneurs trying to get on their feet.

Douglas County already shares some federal funds from the American Rescue Plan with business support organizations.

North Omaha has great potential, but business leaders say supporting new ventures will be necessary to get the community where it wants to be.

For companies and start-ups in the area that want to succeed, the needs are very clear.

“Accessing credit and capital, getting technical assistance with website design, accounting services, setting up operations, hiring – those are the things we’ve heard fairly consistently with the companies we’ve talked to over the years” , said Willie Barney, the president/CEO of the Empowerment Network.

Barney co-founded the Carver Legacy Center, which focuses on building wealth for African Americans, starting on the north side of Omaha. He says the community here has launched more than 300 companies in the past decade. And now state and local governments are making unprecedented investments here too.

“Launching them is one thing, but how do you keep up the scale and grow? And I think that’s where we are now,” Barney said.

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