Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities

2016 CEC Group Photo


Hastings, NE will host the 2018 CEC Conference on April 4th and 5th!

Register for the 2018 CEC Conference
See below for details on multi-attendee discounts for communities!

The Lark
809 West 2nd Street
Hastings, NE 68901

Nebraska Extension's Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Conference is a premier conference for those interested in building entrepreneurial communities throughout Nebraska and beyond.

Join other like-minded communities as we learn programs and resources, share best practices and ideas, empower ourselves and others to assist entrepreneurs and grow our local communities at the annual Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Conference.

Throughout this conference, you will have a chance to hear from entrepreneurial professionals across the state and country. Thirty break-out sessions across six tracks will be held in downtown Hastings venues—all within walking distance.

This year's tracks include:

  • Creating a Vibrant Downtown
  • Effective Business Attraction & Retention
  • Authentic Community Engagement
  • Helping Entrepreneurs Through Challenges
  • Developing an Entrepreneurial Culture
  • Retail Academy
2017 CEC Session

CVI Educators Ben Dutton and Jason Weigle recently talked with Nebraska TV about the 2018 Conference. Click the following link to watch the interview:


The up-to-date conference agenda can be found below (opens in new window):

2018 Hastings CEC Conference Agenda (Google Docs).

The conference runs “Noon–to–Noon” allowing participants to travel to and from the conference at reasonable hours.


Conference registration is $80, which includes breakout sessions, Wednesday lunch and dinner, networking event, and keynotes speeches from local entrepreneurs. Please register early! Late registration after March 23 is $100.

Communities are encouraged to send multiple representatives to maximize learning and networking! When communities bring several participants, they have greater leverage to implement some or all of the strategies they learn at the conference. For communities or community groups sending 3 or more attendees, a $20 discount will apply for each person.

We highly encourage residents to work with a community or county based organization (e.g. volunteer organizations, Chambers, Economic Development agencies, etc.) to recruit community members and focus community registration. Attendees living in communities without these organizations can still apply; we simply ask that one person act as the focal point for the group. For more information on registering community members under the multi-attendee discount, please contact Jason Weigle (, 402.768.7212).

Register for the 2018 CEC Conference


Hotels blocks are available for April 3rd and April 4th. Ask for the "CEC Conference Rate" when registering at the following hotels:

C3 Hotel & Convention Center
2205 Osborne Drive East
Rate: $69.00/night

Holiday Inn Express
3605 Cimarron Plaza
Rate: $104.95/night

More Info

For more information about the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities conference, contact a CEC team member:

Ben Dutton – Connie Hancock –
Charlotte Narjes – Marilyn Schlake –
Becky Vogt – Rex Nelson –
Sandra Barrera – Jason Weigle –