January  2004      Vol. 13, No. 1  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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REAP Advisory Committee Notes

In November four REAP staff met with six REAP members/advisors in Central City to visit about current activities and future plans. Nadine Myers (Nadine’s Country Catering), a member of Central City’s Loan Tree Small Business Association, catered a delicious soup and sandwich supper.

The meeting began with introductions and updates on the REAP program and Women’s Business Center activities from Jeff Reynolds and Glennis McClure. Monica Braun and Phil Menke presented information on activities in their regions.

Association officers reported on local group activities. Missy Hillmer, Chair of the Central City group, told about their membership blitz. They visited area businesses with association information and a questionnaire, with correct answers tied to a discount on association membership dues.

Sharon Johnson reported on the Crossroads Rural Entrepreneur Network group at York. They recently hosted a marketing seminar with presenter David Buchholz, which was very well attended (see REAP Notes for more information on the seminar).

Discussion followed on the pros and cons of the new Rural Business Roundtable concept REAP is developing. The group also considered the question: “What are the barriers to success for startup and existing small businesses in rural Nebraska?” Responses included:

  • Time is a pressing issue as many are starting part-time businesses and still working full time.
  • Productive marketing methods are needed.
  • Technical assistance isn’t always readily available (or business owners don’t know about REAP and can’t find help readily).
  • Management skills need to be strengthened, and information on how to find technical assistance made more available.
  • Access to affordable health insurance is a major barrier.

One suggestion emerging from the discussion was for REAP to provide public service announcements to local groups. They could be customized and would be an aid to getting REAP information out to rural communities.

 Contact: Glennis McClure, REAP Women's Business Center Director, reapwbc@diodecom.net .
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