This feature in the Nebraska Business Development Center newsletter looks at how I have been able to partner with this essential organization as I have built my career and my grant writing business here in Omaha with one of their mentors.
After settling in Omaha, LeDoux decided to launch her own grant writing company. “It was a rough road at the beginning,” she says. “I didn’t know anyone and so I did a lot of cold calls. People weren’t rude necessarily, but it was hard to generate any interest. I soon came to understand that people here like to meet you face-to-face and really get to know you.”
LeDoux attended some open meetings with non-profits and began to widen her network of contacts. She joined the Center Sphere networking group and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. She also checked online for local and statewide small business resources. That is how she found the NBDC and Consultant Eswari Kalugasalam.
“When Katie first approached the NBDC in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, she was the sole employee of her company, had eight clients and wanted to increase her clientele,” Kalugasalam recalls. “I started working with her on market research, marketing strategies and related matters.”
The two forged a working relationship and a friendship, LeDoux says. “Eswari is amazing,” she says. “She’s pushed me to do more marketing and outreach and to think outside the box. She gave me advice on billing models that make more sense for my clients and for me. She’s been a dream to work with.”
LeDoux now has more than two dozen clients and two assistants. “My clients are mostly small to mid-sized non-profits with no fulltime development team,” she says. “In a sense, I become their full-time development officer.”