City Kicks Off "Grow the Great Life Week"

Published on March 25, 2024

Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development announces business-friendly designation, microloan program

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, with Jason Ball, President and CEO of the Lincoln Chamber and Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, and Luke Peltz, Vice President of Economic Development with the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development (LPED), and David Honz, Southeast Field Service Representative with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), today announced Lincoln’s designation by DED as an Economic Development Certified Community. They also announced that LPED has partnered with KivaUS to become the first Kiva Hub in Nebraska. Kiva is an online crowdfunding program that provides no-interest loans to entrepreneurs and startup businesses, thereby catalyzing economic growth and innovation.

“We are proud that Lincoln is the first city in Nebraska to become a Kiva Hub, as Kiva loans can change lives,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “These two new designations recognize Lincoln’s efforts to foster entrepreneurship and create new economic opportunity, helping us grow the great life for all.”

Peltz highlighted that as an Economic Development Certified Community, Lincoln has been acknowledged for its proactive approach to economic development and its readiness for growth. The designation signifies to employers and potential newcomers that Lincoln has the essential ingredients for economic opportunity and a great quality of life. The Economic Development Certified Community designation is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.   

“This designation is a significant milestone for our city. I am so proud of our work to achieve this important designation, which elevates our competitiveness as a community by strengthening our responses to site selectors on Requests for Proposals,” Peltz said. “This positions our team to continue attracting new businesses and securing new grant opportunities in the future.”

Peltz also discussed LPED’s partnership with Kiva, noting that Kiva microloans provide a key entrepreneurial on-ramp and lower the barriers to business entry and expansion. As such, Kiva loans often reach underserved populations – including women, minority, and low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs. Lincoln’s Kiva Hub will be administered through Community Development Resources of Lincoln and will officially launch this summer.

Ball emphasized the significance of these designations and their impact on Lincoln's economic landscape.

“Today’s announcements are two important steps in making Lincoln an even more economically vibrant community for all residents,” Ball said. “Becoming an Economic Development Certified Community makes Lincoln eligible for additional resources to support new and existing companies, and becoming Nebraska’s first Kiva hub enables us to support new, small business entrepreneurs to build their dream business in Lincoln and enrich the community in the process. As always, important steps like this depend on strong partnerships with the city, the private sector, the state, and other non-profit organizations like the Echo Collective and Community Development Resources.”

Mayor Gaylor Baird added that the City’s partnership with Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development is an important means by which the City grows a great life for its residents.

“This longstanding and valuable partnership between the City of Lincoln and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce continues to drive results and foster a vibrant local economy by advancing job growth, facilitating business expansion, and nurturing an ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said.

Monday’s news conference was the first in a series of five “Grow the Great Life Week” events March 25 to 29. Each day, Mayor Gaylor Baird and community partners will highlight City achievements and initiatives designed to strengthen the economy, grow the workforce, support local businesses, and enhance the overall quality of life in Lincoln. 

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