September 2007  Issue No. 25                    REAP HOME PAGE         A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs

Rural Enterprise Reporter

REAP Activities: Goal Is to Serve Nebraska's Small Rural Businesses
Meeting with REAP participants and speaking at major conferences, REAP staff keep growing, going, and serving micro businesses

>> REAP staff attended the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) national conference in Kansas City, MO. 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 2006, REAP Women’s Business Center helped co-sponsor the annual Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference, organized by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Over 375 women attended the very successful conference.

>> REAP staff were involved in the successful first MarketPlace: Opening Doors to Success event held in Kearney on February 28, 2007. Approximately 500 people attended the sessions. Evaluations were positive for the training sessions and the networking opportunities.

>> The following received REAP 2006 Annual Awards: Small Business, Lisa Budd, Daylight Donuts, Gothenburg, NE; Officer, Juan Sandoval, Treasurer of Madison County Latino Business Organization, Norfolk, NE; Friend, Lori Warner, Beatrice Chamber of Commerce Director, Beatrice, NE; Extra Mile, Kevin Burnison, Southeast Nebraska Development District, Humboldt, NE; Achievement Award, Bryan Heubrock, Bryan’s Painting & Cleaning, Winner, SD. The Entrepreneur Award is given to an innovative person in the forefront of microenterprise development. REAP member Jaine Troxel, Doozies, Fairbury, NE, was the 2006 recipient.

>> REAP staff attended the Nebraska Enterprise Opportunity Network (NEON) annual meeting at Lincoln. NEON is a policy and training organization for those in microenterprise.

>> Planning...Planning...Planning ... REAP staff held a retreat in March 2007 at Wahoo. The retreat laid the initial groundwork for new initiatives and objectives. The new initiatives discussed at the retreat will keep REAP in the forefront of microenterprise and, most importantly, will help increase REAP’s capacity to reach even larger numbers of rural entrepreneurs in need of services.

>> REAP is completing phase three of the REAP Hispanic Business Center without walls (HBC) in the Northeast Nebraska region. The REAP HBC is working to build the capacity to provide business development services to rural Nebraska Hispanic entrepreneurs on a statewide rural basis. This new project impacted over 100 Hispanic startup and existing entrepreneurs last year.

>> REAP Program Director Jeff Reynolds and REAP WBC Director Monica Braun attended the Nebraska Community Foundation annual meeting and banquet in Kearney on November 9. They staffed a booth and provided information about REAP to those in attendance from across the state.

>> REAP WBC Director Monica Braun and REAP Business Specialist Dena Beck attended the Governor’s Agri-Tourism Workshop at Kearney. The workshop 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 WBC Director Monica Braun and REAP Business Specialist Dena Beck attended the GROW Nebraska Spring Meeting in Holbrook in April. The Women and Company® Equity Award Winners were announced and recognized. Lynn Welch and Cedonnia Hyke of The Pool Hall in Eustis were on hand to receive their award. The day included educational workshops and networking opportunities.

>> REAP staff collaborated with Glennis McClure, Community Affairs Advisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and local economic developers and other partners to present Business Succession Planning Seminars in over 10 rural Nebraska communities this past year. Business owners and community leaders in each of the communities attended to receive information about buying and selling local businesses. Planning for Business Succession is one important strategy for keeping our rural communities viable.

>> Monica Braun presented information about REAP and the MarketPlace to the Seward County Leadership Plenty group which met in Milford in December. Leadership Plenty is a program of the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension. Several counties have implemented this program to develop leadership in their citizens.

>> A Business Booster Breakfast was an excellent way for local businesses to meet and discuss business issues. O’Neill was the site for a Business Booster Breakfast in January. The meeting was sponsored by the O’Neill HTC Entrepreneurship Task Force, Holt County Development Initiative, and REAP.

>> Survey Work - Holt County was the site for surveys taken countywide in June. The surveys were taken for the Nebraska Business Visitation Program by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Members of DED were in Holt County to oversee and assist with the surveys. Others from various agencies, local bankers, and service providers also assisted. North Central REAP staff assisted with the surveys two days in the communities of Atkinson, Stuart, and Chambers.

>> Debra Freese, Revenue Agent with the Nebraska Department of Revenue, worked with REAP over the past year to present Sales Tax Seminars in Northeast Nebraska, especially to Hispanic roundtable groups in South Sioux City, Madison, and Columbus.

>> REAP staff participated with the 5 de Mayo Annual Hispanic Celebration at Columbus. The 5 de Mayo event celebrates the Hispanic traditions and at the same time provides a way for the Hispanic and broader community to come together. REAP Business Specialist Adriana Dungan visited with many of the 8,000 attendees to tell about REAP program and services.

>> Economic Development Summits - REAP Business Specialist Adriana Dungan attended the Economic Development Summit at Wayne and REAP Business Specialist Janelle Moran attended the Economic Development Summit at Nebraska City. The summit’s purpose is to promote regional collaboration and regional economic development in the face of global competition.

>> REAP staff participated with the Friendship Force of Lincoln in bringing a Women’s Russian delegation to South Sioux City. The Russian delegation toured rural Nebraska for learning, sharing, energizing, and networking with USA women. REAP Business Specialist Adriana Dungan helped to plan the event. Monica Braun, Women’s Business Center Director, also presented at the event.

>> REAP Business Specialist Adriana Dungan was invited to participate in “Immigration, Nebraska, and the Future: Sorting Out the Myths from the Facts and Finding Our Way to Good Public Policy.” Sponsored by Nebraska Appleseed and St. Paul Methodist Church, the panel considered state and local policy strategies for most effectively welcoming and integrating newcomers in our communities.

>> Collaboration - REAP is part of the Southeast NebraskaEDGE Program Collaborative, led by River Country Economic Dev. Corp. at Nebraska City. BECA grant funds allow various programs to collaborate on continuing education classes for small business owners in Otoe, Nemaha, and Johnson counties. The collaborative is extremely active. REAP Business Specialist Janelle Moran has been extensively involved with this collaborative.

Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director at 402.656.3091 or for more information.

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