September 2005  Issue No. 23                    REAP HOME PAGE         A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs

Rural Enterprise Reporter

New Initiatives Help Place REAP on the Cutting Edge
Rural Roundtables, Hispanic Rural Business Center, Online Member Directory, Online Lending System, and Rapid Loan Product

The REAP program strives to be on the cutting edge in the microenterprise field. REAP staff are very proud of the new initiatives offered this year and of those still in the research and development mode.

This year REAP unveiled a new approach to forming groups called “REAP Rural Business Roundtables.” We also piloted the REAP Hispanic-Rural Business Center and began researching and developing a new and innovative online lending system.

The new online REAP Member Directory continues to grow and is a great benefit for REAP members. The directory serves as a networking and marketing tool for REAP members. The REAP Member Directory is linked to national websites for larger exposure.

To be included, REAP members can download the one-page form at www.cfra.org/reap or call any REAP staff to receive a hard copy. You can check out the directory at the above web address; click on the “REAP Directory” menu option. This major benefit is free for REAP members.

REAP is preparing to pilot a new and innovative Online Lending System and also introduce a new lending product called the REAP Rapid Loan this fall. The Online Lending System will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to fill out their loan application online on a safe and secure site.

The formation of REAP Rural Business Roundtables has begun and represents a new “twist” to organizing small business groups. This networking model provides a potential future direction or solution to meeting program and staff capacities for REAP. Roundtable groups should be self sustaining and thus require little staff time. REAP looks to further pilot this work in 2006.

The REAP Hispanic-Rural Business Center continues to progress. REAP was approved for a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) to further work in the rural Hispanic entrepreneur area. Phase two takes place in the communities of South Sioux City, Schuyler, and Crete, Nebraska. Ultimately, the business center will provide key business development services to rural Nebraska Hispanic entrepreneurs across the state.

REAP has a long history of being customer driven. Rural entrepreneurs are our customers. REAP will continue to listen to our customers and research, develop, and implement new initiatives that meet their needs.

Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director, at 402.656.3091 or jeffr@alltel.net for more information.

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