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

Rural Enterprise Reporter

REAP Activities: Serving Nebraska's Businesses
From meeting with REAP participants to speaking at major conferences, REAP staff are growing and going across the state

Association for Enterprise Opportunity
REAP staff attended the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) national conference in Portland, Oregon. This conference provided excellent staff training to improve the program as well as their technical assistance skills to better serve our client base.

Women in Agriculture Conference
REAP Women’s Business Center has connected with the annual Women in Agriculture conference, organized by the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Last September, Glennis McClure and Monica Braun conducted two training sessions at the conference in Kearney. The training sessions, “An Extra Business for Extra $$” drew 41 participants.

Glennis was recognized as a member of the original planning committee for the first conference, which started 20 years ago in 1984. This year Glennis is working with several REAP members to present a panel on “Rural Women, Rural Businesses.” The REAP WBC is a co-sponsor of this year’s conference, held September 15 and 16 in Kearney.

Small Business Legal Workshops
Steve Virgil, Community Economic Development Project Director with the Abrahams Legal Clinic, Creighton University, worked with REAP to present trainings in REAP communities across Nebraska. Workshops were held in South Sioux City, Auburn, Lexington, Fairbury, and Scottsbluff. With funding changes, the Clinic won’t be able to travel for training as readily, but they are interested in micro business owners contacting them for legal services.

eBay Trainings for Small Businesses
REAP and three local associations hosted eBay trainings during the year, using the expertise of Robin Stoops of Fairbury as instructor. Approximately 80 participants attended at least one of the sessions held in York, Tecumseh, and Nebraska City.

Mr. Stoops is a great eBay enthusiast and provides a lively workshop which covers the basics of selling items on eBay. Over 700,000 people in the U.S. sell on eBay and make a full-time living from such an enterprise, up from 500,000 people, just a year ago. So it’s great if some REAP members can get in on the action! 

Women’s Business Center Conference
In June, Jeff Reynolds and Glennis McClure, REAP Co-Directors, attended the Women’s Business Center conference hosted by the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the Small Business Administration (SBA) in Washington D.C. They attended best practices training sessions throughout the conference and meetings with the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC), including a reception of the AWBC at the Capitol. Glennis presented REAP information on a panel with two other Women’s Business Center directors during a training session called “Building Allies and Alliances”.

NEON 
REAP Panhandle Business Specialist Jerry Terwilliger has been appointed to serve a one-year term on the Nebraska Enterprise Opportunity Network (NEON) executive committee. NEON is a policy and training organization for microenterprise organizations in Nebraska. REAP staff attended the annual Nebraska Enterprise Opportunity Network (NEON) annual conference.

Hispanic Microenterprise Assistance
REAP piloted and established a rural Hispanic business development program, the REAP Hispanic Rural Business Center without walls in the Nebraska communities of South Sioux City, Schuyler, and Scottsbluff and ultimately will provide key business development services to rural Nebraska Hispanic entrepreneurs on a Nebraska statewide rural basis. This new project impacted over 50 Hispanic startup and existing entrepreneurs in the first year of operation.

Small Communities Big Opportunities
REAP Co-Director Glennis McClure and REAP Southeast Business Specialist Monica Braun helped plan and present a “Small Communities Big Opportunities” workshop sponsored by the Southeast Resource Network. The workshop provided an opportunity to find out what other communities are doing to develop an entrepreneurial spirit, meet various resource providers, and other various sessions focused on entrepreneurship.

CfRA Annual Meeting
REAP staff presented a track of teach-ins at the Center for Rural Affairs Annual Gathering on February 26, 2005 at Norfolk, NE. Teach-ins included “Improving Chances for Business Success.” A REAP Small Business Fair was also held, attracting around 20 small businesses.

Annual Awards
REAP’s annual awards were distributed at the Center’s Annual Gathering. Recipients for 2004 included: Small Business, Linda Goodman, Lynn’s Upholstery, Naper, NE; Officer, Missy Hillmer, Chair of Lone Tree Small Business Association (LTSBA); Friend, Laurie Hansen, City of Atkinson Economic Director, Atkinson, NE; Extra Mile, Adriana Dungan, NAF Multicultural Human Dev. Corp., South Sioux City, NE.

The Center for Rural Affairs Entrepreneur Award is presented to a REAP innovator who is in the forefront of microenterprise development. REAP members Keith and Sue Roberts, Twin Creek Paintball and Sappa Peak Trading Post, Orleans, NE were the fourth-ever recipients of this award.

Hometown Competitiveness
REAP Co-Director Glennis McClure and REAP Business Specialist Monica Braun attended the Hometown Competitiveness Training (HTC) at Omaha on January 25-27. HTC is a comprehensive three-day training program to teach community members how to approach community development by integrating four essential building blocks; Mobilizing Local Leaders, Capturing Wealth Transfer, Energizing Entrepreneurship, and Attracting Young People.

NEDA
REAP Business Specialist Jerry Terwilliger attended the Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA) fall conference at Gering.

ED 201
REAP Business Specialist Jerry Terwilliger participated with the ED 201 Economic Development course in October 2004. The week-long training at Lincoln was presented by the National Development Council and provided a conceptual framework for the many roles of financing business development. The course is the second of a series that can lead to certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional.

Business Plan Judging
REAP Co-Director Glennis McClure served as a judge for the 6th annual “Alice Dittman /Cornhusker Bank NU Venture Championships” preliminary round in November 2004. Sponsored by the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship, this collegiate business plan competition had two tracks for undergraduate and graduate level students. McClure served as a judge at the 2003 event.

Mott Foundation Visit
REAP Co-Directors Jeff Reynolds and Glennis McClure and REAP Business Specialist Monica Braun participated with other Center staff with a site visit from the Mott Foundation. The site visit included meetings in Lincoln with NEON, a stop at the State Capitol, and a tour of REAP-assisted businesses at Fairbury.

Website
The extensive REAP website, launched in August 2002, continues to expand and improve. REAP added a new online REAP Member Directory in June 2004. REAP staff are researching and developing an online lending product and online lending system. The REAP Rapid Loan concept will allow online application and will be a loan product with a $5,000 maximum limit.

Speaking Engagements
REAP staff frequently participated and spoke at many conferences. REAP staff also did many public speaking engagements at various organizations and events.

Contacts
REAP Staff was successful at making key contacts with bankers, service providers, and others. These relationships, many of which are collaborative, are key to REAP’s continued success.

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

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