OMAHA — The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce has begun fundraising for its $32 million economic development plan.
Prosper Omaha 2.0 is a five-year campaign that aims to create a coordinated urban transit system, attract tech startups, create 10,000 new jobs averaging 50,000 per year, encourage young people to begin careers in Nebraska and create a more diverse and inclusive business scene.
The effort is a follow-up to the current Prosper Omaha plan, which had a budget of $25 million for 2014-18. The new campaign will be in effect from 2019-23.
Companies have already made preliminary pledges of $5.25 million to the new campaign.
"The communities and the business leaders have been incredibly supportive," said Tim Burke, chairman of Prosper Omaha 2.0 and CEO of Omaha Public Power District. "My gut tells me it's going to be successful."
Fundraising efforts will continue into the summer. The chamber hopes to add an additional 100 donors to the 350 donors on its list.
The campaign will designate $16 million for business growth, $7.6 million for job training and career experiences for students, and $8.4 million for transportation, new industrial sites and marketing.
Many pieces of the campaign are linked, said Chamber CEO David Brown. Keeping young people in the area could lead to more start-ups. Improving diversity among the city's business leadership could attract more businesses.
Organizers are working toward a 2040 vision of Omaha, which would have the region with 300,000 more people, an international airport, public early-childhood schools and increased productivity.