Rural Enterprise Reporter
REAP Womenís Business Center Review
The need for solid business
support for women entrepreneurs stayed strong this year.
BY GLENNIS MCCLURE, REAP WBC
The demand for business technical assistance, help with
business planning, increased sources of business capital, and
just plain solid support for women who aspire to own a business
in Nebraska continues to be strong.
The Center for Rural Affairsí REAP program has worked throughout
the past year to enhance outreach to women entrepreneurs in
rural Nebraska through the second year of our Womenís Business
Center (WBC) project.
Unique Center Concept
REAPís Nebraska Womenís Business Center covers all rural areas
of the state. Our staff travels out to assist client businesses,
conduct training sessions, and coordinate business networking
meetings in communities. REAPís WBC is a ďcenter without walls.Ē
Our idea from the beginning was to continue what REAP has done
throughout its history Ė to take our services out to clients
across Nebraska. One WBC office could not begin to meet the
needs or come close to the outreach necessary to have an impact
in rural development. REAPís WBC has field staff in eight
offices covering Nebraska.
Year Two Successful
The main objectives of the Womenís Business Center follow, with
an explanation of our accomplishments for the year in each area.
○ To serve self-employed women who have existing and start-up
businesses across rural Nebraska.
REAP staff provided 653 individual counseling sessions with an
average clientele base of 357 throughout the year. New contacts
totaled 372 people. We helped significantly with 46 start-up
businesses, 27 solely owned by women and 7 more owned 50-50 by
male and female together. Combined, 74 percent of the start-up
businesses we helped involved a woman owner or co-owner.
○ To improve REAPís ability to deliver Basic Business
Twelve Basic Business Plan courses were held across Nebraska
during year two of the WBC project. In the fall of 2002, REAP
and the South Sioux City, Nebraska, Sioux Area Small Business
Association hosted our first training in Spanish with 11
registrants and 5 businesses completing the course.
REAP co-sponsored three eCommerce trainings in the second half
of the WBC fiscal year. Altogether we recorded 104 training
sessions held at various locations across the state with 774
○ To increase REAPís outreach to provide training, technical
assistance, networking, and lending, targeting socially and
economically disadvantaged women.
REAPís existing infrastructure helped provide Womenís Business
Center services across rural Nebraska. We significantly passed
our milestone projections for the WBC in year one and two.
REAP made 49 micro loans (totaling $622,912) to member
businesses through the year, with 37 or 76 percent of these
loans going to businesses that were owned and operated at least
50 percent or more by women. REAP also documented working with
29 leverage loans totaling just over $1 million.
We are looking ahead in year three of the project to helping
Nebraska businesses network, especially women-owned businesses.
By mid-year we hope to reveal a new networking model that can be
implemented in communities in Nebraska without an active REAP
association. REAP will
remain diligent in our microenterprise lending work and in
providing timely technical assistance to all clients as needed.
Contact: Glennis McClure,
REAP WBC Director at 402.645.3296 or
email@example.com for more information.