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

Rural Enterprise Reporter

REAP Womenís Business Center Review
With year four just completed, REAP Women's Business Center has staying power


This year was proof again that the REAP Womenís Business Center is here to serve women who aspire to own a business in Nebraska. The business center supplies technical assistance, planning, capital, and support for Nebraska rural small businesses.

We just began our 5th year, and we look to make this another banner year for REAPís outreach to women through our diverse services.

Objectives of the Womenís Business Center are front and center on our radar screens as we work each day. Hereís how weíve done in striving to meet our objectives in the past year.

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

Our staff provided 2,049 hours of business counseling to individual businesses over the past year with 864 new contacts and 377 counseled clients. We helped significantly with at least 30 start-up businesses; 21 of these businesses were owned at least 50 percent or more by women.

The REAP- WBC was one of eight program recipients in the U.S. to receive Women and Company equity award funding for at least nine women entrepreneurial clients in 2005 through a partnership with AEO. Nine of our women business owner clients received $1000 equity awards through this program, plus additional technical assistance and training opportunities.

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

We recorded 56 training sessions held at various locations across the state with a total 679 participants for the year. We conducted two Spanish-speaking Business Plan Basic classes during the year with 17 participants.

REAP will take our courses where there is a need and interest expressed in rural Nebraska. We can offer single-night trainings on topics such as marketing, business start-up, business taxes, business financials and loans, plus eBay or eCommerce topics.

  • 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. We made 42 micro-loans (totaling $469,650) to member businesses through the year with 31 of these loans going to businesses that were owned and operated at least 50 percent or more by women. We also documented working with 18 leverage loans totaling just over $1.5 million dollars. The majority of the leverage loans were to women business owners who worked with us throughout the business planning process.

Our program continues to provide networking services to small business owners across Nebraska through sponsorship of active associations and has been piloting the start-up of roundtable groups, the first of which began in South Sioux City for 18 Hispanic business owners. In at least every other issue of the REAP Business Update newsletter, roundtable topics are provided to be used by groups as discussion topics. 

Contact: Glennis McClure, REAP WBC Director at 402.645.3296 or 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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