September 2004  Issue No. 22                    REAP HOME PAGE         A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs

Rural Enterprise Reporter

REAP Womenís Business Center Review
Year three for the REAP Women's Business Center "without walls" was busy and productive

BY GLENNIS MCCLURE, REAP WBC DIRECTOR

Based on our increased number of contacts, the need continues to be strong for business technical assistance, help with business planning, increased sources of business capital, and support for women who aspire to own a business in Nebraska.

Year 3 was Great!
Objectives of the Womenís Business Center for REAP are front and center on our radar screens as we work each day. Hereís how weíve done in striving to meet our objectives this year.

  • To serve existing and start-up self-employed women across rural Nebraska.

REAP staff provided 2,481 hours of business counseling to individual businesses with 496 new contacts and 409 counseled clients. We helped significantly with at least 33 start-up businesses, 24 owned by women (7 of the 24 were male-female partnerships and 17 were solely women owners).

  • To improve REAPís ability to deliver our Basic Business Training across the state.

Eight Basic Business Plan five-night courses and three eCommerce trainings were held across Nebraska. REAP continues to innovate with trainings. New programs included two, double-night marketing seminars, at least two business ownership seminars, and three eBay trainings for small businesses among many other single night trainings offered through REAP associations. REAP facilitated two business plan trainings in the spring targeted for Hispanic business owners. These took place in South Sioux City and Scottsbluff, with 21 participants. Altogether we recorded 71 training sessions held at various locations across the state with a record 905 individuals participating in trainings for the year.

  • 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. REAP made 38 micro-loans (totaling $459,600) to member businesses through the year with 30 of these loans going to businesses that were owned and operated at least 50 percent or more by women.

REAP also documented working with 23 leverage loans totaling just over $1.3 million dollars. The majority of the leverage loans were to women business owners who worked with REAP throughout the business planning process.

REAP Rural Business Roundtables
In year four of our Womenís Business Center, we are looking forward to launching our pilot of at least four REAP Rural Business Roundtables.

Networking is one of the best tools for a small business owner to use in growing their business! REAP will facilitate organizing roundtable groups. In addition to networking opportunities and support, ongoing education in these groups should be of great value.

Participants will have access to REAP member benefits including lending products, technical assistance, and other REAP continuum of services. Most importantly, roundtable members will know and can use the expertise of their area REAP Business Specialist.

The roundtable networking group will help the REAP Womenís Business Center project better meet our goal of increasing outreach to small business owners, especially women. It will help increase our client contact hours, provide positive public relations with the womenís business community, and expand the resource base knowledge of women business owners.

Contact: Glennis McClure, REAP WBC Director at 402.645.3296 or reapwbc@diodecom.net for more information.

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Center for Rural Affairs -- Rural Enterprise Assistance Project
145 Main St.    PO Box 136    Lyons, Nebraska  68038
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