January 2004      Vol. 13, No. 1  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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FREE Resources for RURAL Small Businesses
Please take a moment to browse through http://www.itssimple.biz – a free Internet resource center to assist small business creation across the country.

The site was funded by USDA and has been in development for three years. It recently added information about counseling and training opportunities in every state. This includes agencies and nonprofits who offer free or low-cost assistance to small business – SBA, USDA, DOL, Small Business Development Centers, and some micro-lenders and development authorities.

You can sign up for a free newsletter, too.

eCommerce Class in Alliance “Huge Success”
October 20, 2003 kicked off REAP’s four-week e-Commerce course in Alliance, Nebraska. The course is offered in conjunction with the University of Nebraska Extension Service and was co-sponsored by the Western Entrepreneur Support Team small business association in Alliance and the Alliance Technology group.

Nancy Shaw, www.pc-arts.com , of Alliance was course instructor, assisted by Jenny Nixon and Connie Hancock from the Extension Service. Nine people took the course, and each night saw 100 percent attendance. The group was lively, asked a lot of questions, and networked with one another.

The class was a huge success, and a number of class members planned on setting up a Front Page users group after the first of the year to work on their websites.

CREN Co-sponsors Marketing Seminar in York, Neb.
The Crossroads Rural Entrepreneur Network (CREN) of York County co-sponsored a marketing seminar in York November 10, 2003. Over 50 individuals attended “Marketing Basics for Building Your Business” presented by Dave Buchholz, David & Associates, Hastings, Nebraska.

The seminar addressed competing in an ever-changing economy and marketplace. Participants discovered how to establish a distinct identity and learned ways to build their ventures. Buchholz presented the differences between selling and marketing, discussed price vs. value, and clarified features vs. benefits.

The program was co-sponsored by the York County Development Corporation, the Greater York Area Chamber of Commerce, and CREN. Several CREN members displayed their products in a designated area during the evening’s presentation.

Butler County Completes Business Plan Basics
Six businesses completed the Business Plan Basics five-week course in Butler County in November. Participating businesses included an established business, a business looking to diversify, a fairly new business, a start-up business, and idea-stage businesses. The group is excited about planning their program year when they meet as a REAP Association in January.

Thayer County Area Forms REAP Association
Entrepreneurs in Thayer County have come together to form a REAP Association and will be known as the Small Business Pioneers of Thayer County. Organizational meetings were held in November and December.

The group is hosting the Business Plan Basics training during January and February. Communities represented at this point are Hebron, Bruning, and Chester-Hubbell. Members are potential, startup, and established businesses. Once the training is completed, the businesses will continue to meet for education and networking.

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