FranNet of the Heartland Celebration: Capping Off Exciting Year for Omaha’s Entrepreneur

By FranNet of the Heartland | Photography BY Joseph Saaid

Apparently, entrepreneurship is alive and well in the Omaha community, based on the success of a recent small business celebration and fundraiser held Friday, Nov. 10 at the Hot Shops Art Center in the heart of downtown’s central business district. Hosted by Blake Martin, owner of FranNet of the Heartland – a local business consultancy that provides free coaching and consulting to aspiring small business owners – this annual fundraising event was a rousing success.

The celebration was an opportunity for like-minded small business owners to gather together and celebrate their shared success in 2023, while also giving back to the local community. Over 230 attendees took part in the celebration. Amidst cocktails, conversation, plenty of swag, and a silent auction, guests were able to raise over $5,000 in generous contributions to Deaf Child Hope International – an effort that continues on the nonprofit organization’s website.

Two local entities stepped up as main sponsors of the event, including Jim McKain – who’s catered this annual event for six years – and The Hot Shops Art Center, who generously donated the space in hosting all guests. Other worthy donors and contributors included Better Homes and Gardens Compass Team, Club Pilates of Omaha, Evolve Benefits, Fibrenew of South Metro Omaha, Gilson Contracting, Mylo Brand Studio, Nest With the Nelsons, No-H20 of Omaha, Northwest Bank, Omaha Headshots Company, Primetime General Contracting, Starkey Auto, and V-Accurate Bookkeeping by Audrey Van Ackeren.

FranNet of the Heartland’s annual celebration and fundraiser would not have been possible without the help of several local individuals who volunteered their time, effort, and resources to put on this event. They include Dan Donnelly, Emmalee Westfall, Fred Zarate, Gabe and Travis Ruiz, Jay Durmaskin, M’Lee Hasslinger, Rachelle DiFonzo, Regi Powell, Shannon Martin, T.J. Redington, and Travis Payne.

“This open-house celebration and fundraiser exceeded my wildest expectations,” stated Blake Martin. “I’ve long referred to our annual gathering as a ‘Party with a Purpose,’ as it highlights the importance of giving back to the Omaha community where I’ve lived and worked for the past 20 years.”

If you missed this year’s celebration, no worries, as plans are already underway for next year’s entrepreneurial gathering – set for Friday, Nov. 8, 2024.
Once again, the Hot Shops Art Center will host the occasion.