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SPN Kernels: news from across the prairie

Lincoln: Nebraska moves up in New Economy Index

The recently released Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s 2017 State New Economy Index showed an improvement in Nebraska’s rankings, moving up eight spots to number 27.

The index measures 25 indicators in five categories: knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, the digital economy and innovation capacity.

“This study focuses more narrowly on a simple question: To what degree does the structure of the 50 state economies match the ideal structure of the innovation-driven New Economy?” states the report introduction.

See the full index here.


St. Louis: Brazen St. Louis wins $90K grant to support diversity in women entrepreneurs

Brazen St. Louis, an organization dedicated to helping growth-seeking women entrepreneurs advance their businesses, has been awarded a $90,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

“Brazen is about shattering the glass ceiling that many women encounter in their workplaces by providing the tools they need to create their own companies where there are no ceilings in the first place,” said Jennifer Ehlen, CEO, Brazen Global.

This is the fourth and largest grant Brazen St. Louis has received from the foundation and will support the organization’s newly created Brazen St. Louis Diversity Program as well as membership programs.

“Our organization strives to improve the opportunities for Hispanic business owners in the St. Louis area,” said Gabriela Ramírez-Arellano, Business Counselor at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. “Through our partnership with Brazen St. Louis, we’re looking to enhance the entrepreneurial opportunities for women throughout the metropolitan area, providing access to resources and insights that will further their goals.”

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Omaha: Interface hires first full-time instructor

Interface Web School is welcoming Kent Smotherman as the school’s first full-time instructor. But when he joined Interface on a part-time basis three years ago, teaching coding wasn’t necessarily on his radar.

Smotherman met Interface founder Shonna Dorsey after responding to an ad she had placed looking for a developer. He emailed her to say that he thought there was a technical flaw in the language she used in the ad, and she wasn’t likely to find the right candidate.

So Dorsey asked Smotherman for a meeting.

“I was impressed by his attention to detail, and wanted to meet him to learn more about him,” she recalls.

“We met and she wanted me to teach, but I was only kind of interested in teaching at that point,” Smotherman said.

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Des Moines: Deere & Co to build $32.6M facility in Urbandale, Iowa

Deere & Co, known for farm and construction equipment, announced a proposal to build a $32.6 million facility in Urbandale, Iowa. The facility will house the company’s intelligent solutions group.

The project received a $2.9 million tax credit from the state and adds to the area’s buzz as a tech center, joining big name companies like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft who are also looking to invest.

According to the Des Moines Register, Apple received more than $213 million in state and local incentives to build a $1.375 billion data center on the western edge of Waukee, Iowa.

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