September 2006  Issue No. 24                    REAP HOME PAGE         A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs

Rural Enterprise Reporter

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

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

>> In 2005, REAP Women’s Business Center helped co-sponsor the annual Nebraska Women in Agriculture conference, organized by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. A panel discussion, “Rural Women, Rural Businesses” was facilitated by Glennis McClure and Monica Braun. A Center for Rural Affairs/REAP display was set up in the exhibit area where we met with many of the 400 conference attendees to tell about our program and services.

>> Steve Virgil, Community Economic Development Project Director with the Abrahams Legal Clinic, Creighton University, worked with REAP over the past year to present Small Business Legal Trainings in Northeast Nebraska, especially to Hispanic roundtable groups in South Sioux City, Madison, and Schuyler.

>> REAP staff participated with the Nebraska Rural Institute at York. The Rural Institute brings together staff from the Partnership for Rural Nebraska and rural community development practitioners for learning, sharing, energizing, and networking. REAP Business Specialist Monica Braun was heavily involved in helping to plan the event. REAP Co-Directors Jeff Reynolds and Glennis McClure both presented at the conference.

>> REAP staff attended the annual Nebraska Enterprise Opportunity Network (NEON) annual conference at Grand Island. NEON is a policy and training organization for microenterprise organizations in Nebraska.

>> REAP staff presented teach-ins at the Center’s Annual Gathering on Feb. 25, 2006, at Kearney, NE. Teach-ins included “Improving Chances for Business Success” and “Boost Your Business” and “How to Target the Hispanic Market.” REAP staff were also involved with a listening session entitled “Marketplace for Entrepreneurs.” There was also a Small Business Fair.

>> REAP 2005 Award recipients were: Small Business, Jan McNichols, The Emerald Spa, O’Neill, NE; Officer, Nancy Bohaty, Secretary/PR of East Central Small Business Network (ECSBN); Friend, Pat Fritz, O’Neill Chamber of Commerce Director, O’Neill, NE. ABCDE Awards were presented to REAP’s veteran instructors: Kendall Scheer, Davenport IA; Stephanie Shrader, Nebraska City, NE; and Kelly Kahman, Fairfield, NE. Certificates were also presented to the 2005 recipients of the Women & Company Microenterprise Boost Program.

The Center for Rural Affairs Entrepreneur Award was also presented at the Center Annual Conference. It is for an innovative person working with REAP who is in the forefront of microenterprise development. REAP member Missy Hillmer, Hillmer Photography, Central City, Nebraska, was the fifth ever recipient of this award. 

>> REAP Business Specialists Monica Braun and Jerry Terwilliger attended an Entrepreneurial Listening Session at Bridgeport. The listening session was sponsored by the Panhandle Development Network along with the University of Nebraska Extension. It was designed to bring opportunities, challenges, and concerns for rural entrepreneurs and rural entrepreneurship to a central focus.

>> REAP Business Specialist Monica Braun attended the Governor’s Agri-Tourism Workshop at Kearney. The workshop was the first of its kind in the state and explored the many aspects involved in establishing, managing, and promoting unique attractions and businesses. The one-day workshop targeted rural economic developers and landowners looking for ways to diversify agricultural income.

>> REAP Business Specialist Jerry Terwilliger attended the “Helping Small Towns II” training at Jackson Hole, Wyoming in October 2005. The training is hosted by the Heartland Center. Since 1992, Helping Small Towns Survive and Succeed has provided hundreds of practitioners and volunteers with the basic skills to tackle the tough work of community building.

>> REAP was invited to participate with a National Meeting on “Scale” in the Microenterprise Industry. REAP Program Director Jeff Reynolds represented the program at the meeting. The meeting was held June 19-21 at Washington DC.

The meeting was a component of the Association of Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) and the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination’s (FIELD) ongoing project to explore the issue of scale in the microenterprise industry.

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

>> REAP staff made key contacts with bankers, service providers, and others. These relationships, many of which are collaborative, are key to REAP’s continued success. We look forward to building on these contacts.

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

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