Summer  2007      Vol. 16, No. 3  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
  < NEWSLETTER MENU  8/07      

MarketPlace: Opening Doors to Success 2008 Even Better

The second annual MarketPlace small business event is coming to the New World Inn in Columbus, Nebraska on Wednesday, February 27, 2008. Following on the heels of a very successful first year, we are working to make MarketPlace 2008 even better.

“More Time for Networking!” :: Event participants want to be able to peruse the 50+ displays in the Exhibit Hall, learn from other small businesses and service providers, and network with one another. We are planning extended breaks for 2008, and more small business participation in the exhibits.

That means more time to shop. :: The MarketPlace Store will be expanded to make room for even more high-quality products and services from small rural Nebraska businesses.

“Repeat some of your teach-ins.” :: Popular teach-ins last year included sessions on marketing, finance, and bookkeeping (see the interview below for a presenter’s feedback). This year we intend to run some sessions twice to enable participants to attend the short educational classes they are most interested in.

Tracks are being shaped for entrepreneurs with ideas for start-up businesses, established businesses, agricultural businesses, youth businesses, and a special track for Hispanic entrepreneurs with sessions conducted in Spanish. We’ll also have sessions covering a host of technology topics, ideas for entrepreneurial communities, and practical rural policy perspectives.

For more information  :: Contact REAP WBC Director Monica Braun, 402.643.2673 or send her an email at mbraun@windstream.net . And be sure to check the Center for Rural Affairs website, www.cfra.org/maketplace/home  often as MarketPlace ’08 takes shape.


Connie Harvey, Efficiency Counts Business Owner, Shares Her Impressions

REAP business woman Connie Harvey co-presented two workshops at the first MarketPlace: Bookkeeping Basics Part I and Part II. She also served on the advisory committee and was an exhibitor. REAP staff are integrally involved in planning and participating in this entrepreneur-focused event, so REAP WBC Director Monica Braun interviewed Connie to get her impressions of the event.

Connie said of the day, “I felt like participants were getting answers they needed. They were making connections and there was a “spirit of collaboration” which was exciting. The low cost was even proof of this spirit, and I’m sure there was an increased awareness of available services, especially to those in rural areas.”

Relying on her strong ability to network, Connie made numerous business contacts throughout the day. “I handed out 150 business cards. I now have emails from attendees who are viable clients and desire to set up an appointment. I have met with two who have become clients.”

Because of her expertise, Connie is helping REAP design a bookkeeping curriculum especially for small businesses (see  the WealthSpring grant story). She generously gave her time to answer the questions of visitors to her booth.

Connie said, “I was surprised by the strong response by many of the participants in my workshops. Many came up after the session or to my Exhibitor Booth and asked specific questions. One said, ‘Come groom my QuickBooks.’ I’d never heard it put that way!” Connie is serving on the MarketPlace 2008 advisory committee.


Contact: Monica Braun, 402.643.2673 or mbraun@windstream.net for more information.
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