Twenty-four entrepreneurs aboard a train traveling 3,000 miles across the country arrived in Omaha on Tuesday in hopes of gaining perspective from the city and spreading the word about their projects.
Omaha “shares the entrepreneurial energy we have,” said Patrick Dowd, founder and CEO of the Millennial Trains Project, which is a nonprofit organization that’s leading the 10-day, seven-city journey.
Sponsored by Bombardier, the S&R Foundation and crowdfunding, the project aims to “empower diverse groups of enterprising and civic-minded people ages 18 to 34 to explore America’s new frontiers.” It launched Aug. 8 in the San Francisco Bay Area and has already stopped in Salt Lake City and Denver.
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After the Omaha visit, the train will stop in Chicago and Pittsburgh and finish up in Washington, D.C.
Dowd said Omaha has the history and culture of railroading that resonates with his organization because America’s rail system was designed to inspire and connect different regions and people. His project similarly aims to connect regions and people but through entrepreneurial projects that range from topics such as art and immigration to fitness and sustainability.
Cameron Hardesty, for example, is working to “take poetry out of the ivory tower” by putting it into everyday environments like street art, photographing the results and sharing the images online. She set out Tuesday to attach pre-made banners of poetry onto the “Stored Potential” art banners on grain silos near the intersection of Interstate 80 and Interstate 480.
Meanwhile, Daniella Uslan is dreaming up how to prevent food waste and link high-quality, surplus food to those in need. Her goal in Omaha was to visit with restaurants, local farmers and representatives from the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition to see how they can help her mission.
Hardesty and Uslan said they were excited to share their projects in Omaha, where already they could see their passions — art and food — were valued.
For information about the other entrepreneurs, visit crowdhitch.millennialtrain.co.