November  2005      Vol. 14, No. 10  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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$1,000 Equity Awards Had Wonderful Impact

Last year REAP participated in the Women & Company Microenterprise Boost Program, which allowed us to make nine $1,000 cash equity awards to women-owned REAP businesses. Our nine women entrepreneur award recipients were very grateful and in all cases told about positive impacts that this funding provided their businesses.

It was just amazing to hear about the uses and outcomes that $1000 made in these businesses. The money helped market the businesses more, helped with the cost of continuing education, helped with new product and enterprise development, and in some cases made it possible to upgrade software and hardware technology.

One project participant reported that sales increased by as much as 75 percent on her business’s product. New product development may lead another business to a large sales contract with a big retailer. Other comments included “made it possible to just keep going,” and “the best year so far.”

This project reinforced to us the notion that small amounts of capital can make a big impact for small businesses in Nebraska. If you can’t find grant money, (which is not readily available to for-profit small businesses) you may consider borrowing just $1,000 or $2,000 to boost your business somehow.

Of course, loans have to be paid back, unlike these cash awards. But if you can make the best of additional cash from a loan and do something to increase your customer base, the returns may be well worth it!

Remember that working closely with your REAP business specialist and updating your business plan to incorporate such changes may be necessary. Borrowing a micro-loan from your association peer group or using the new REAP Rapid Loan program online are options that you may consider.

REAP recently submitted the final report for the Women & Company Microenterprise Boost Program to program managers at the Association of Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). Congratulations once again to our WCMBP awardees. You were a great bunch of gals to work with!

Contact: Glennis McClure, REAP Co-Director /Women’s Business Center Director at 402.645.3296 or for more information.
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