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North O business leaders point to revitalization for renaissance



There is a renewed push to revitalize North Omaha, starting with helping new business owners get on their feet. Douglas County is already sharing some federal funds from the American Rescue Plan with business support organizations. North Omaha has a lot of potential, but business leaders say it will take sustaining new ventures to get where the community wants to be. For businesses and start-ups in the area who want to succeed, the needs are very clear. “Access to credit and capital, getting technical assistance on whether it be designing the website, the accounting services, setting up operations, hiring. Those are the things we’ve heard pretty consistently with the businesses that 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 in the north side of Omaha. He says the community has launched more than 300 businesses here in the last decade. And now, state and local governments are making unprecedented investments here too. “Launching them is one thing, but then how do you sustain and grow in scale? And I think that’s where we are right now,” said Barney. One way the City of Omaha is looking to help: selling almost half-a-million dollars in property for a new North Omaha Music and Arts location. It is right on 24th and Lake. “It is a place that will nurture the spirit of development of our young people, building critical-thinking young people,” said Dana Murray, the executive director of NOMA. Murray told the city council on Tuesday greater economic prosperity can be achieved by bringing people to North Omaha. “We need to build destinations to invite the rest of Omaha down and what we have to sell — and that’s our culture,” said Murray. NOMA says the capital campaign will cost around $20 million.

There is a renewed push to revitalize North Omaha, starting with helping new business owners get on their feet.

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

North Omaha has a lot of potential, but business leaders say it will take sustaining new ventures to get where the community wants to be.

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

“Access to credit and capital, getting technical assistance on whether it be designing the website, the accounting services, setting up operations, hiring. Those are the things we’ve heard pretty consistently with the businesses that 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 in the north side of Omaha. He says the community has launched more than 300 businesses here in the last decade. And now, state and local governments are making unprecedented investments here too.

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

One way the City of Omaha is looking to help: selling almost half-a-million dollars in property for a new North Omaha Music and Arts location. It is right on 24th and Lake.

“It is a place that will nurture the spirit of development of our young people, building critical-thinking young people,” said Dana Murray, the executive director of NOMA.

Murray told the city council on Tuesday greater economic prosperity can be achieved by bringing people to North Omaha.

“We need to build destinations to invite the rest of Omaha down and what we have to sell — and that’s our culture,” said Murray.

NOMA says the capital campaign will cost around $20 million.



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