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ABSTRACT. Entrepreneurship nurturing is crucial in the economic well-being and quality of life of rural communities. Focus groups were conducted among three representative groups who are involved in the entrepreneurship nurturing in central Nebraska to understand the issues that pertain to the nurturing of high-growth entrepreneurs in rural communities. Central Nebraska tackles similar changes in population structure and socio-economic environment (e.g. population decline, closely-knitted community) as in many rural communities in the U.S. The findings from this study will provide an insightful framework about how these environmental challenges are perceived and interpreted in many rural communities and offer insights about the programmatic elements that help overcome these challenges. The emergent findings are divided in two sections. The first section discusses the informants’ phenomenological understanding about the unique challenges the entrepreneurs faced in conducting businesses in the rural communities, such as declining population trends, poor information and communication infrastructures, low entrepreneurial capacity, insufficient funding and complex funding procedures, and under-networking. The second section discusses the activities that may promote entrepreneurial growth, such as encouraging cooperation through networking and increasing competitiveness in the global market place through information and knowledge dissemination such as community marketing campaigns, training about business operations, professional development, and global cultural awareness. Based on the research findings, the university entrepreneur support center may provide the following services to promote entrepreneurial growth: (1) offers business training modules, (2) develops programs to increase global entrepreneurship, (3) provides outreach and networking opportunities between aspiring and current entrepreneurs, and (4) acts as an incubator service. pp. 41-55

Ada Leung
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Deborah Murray
University of Nebraska at Kearney

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