September 2008  Issue No. 26                    REAP HOME PAGE         A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs

Rural Enterprise Reporter

REAP Activities:
Staff Keep REAP a Growing, Going & Strong Service Leader of Rural Microenterprises

AEO – REAP staff attended the Association for Enterprise Opportunity national conference at Anaheim, California, to access training to improve our program and technical assistance skills to better serve our client base.

SBA WBC Post Awards Conference – Monica Braun and Center for Rural Affairs’ accountant Hayley Hallstrom attended SBA’s Women’s Business Centers Professional Development meeting in Washington DC in June to share “best practices” and be updated on new SBA personnel and procedures.

Annual Awards – REAP 2007 annual awards were distributed at the Center for Rural Affairs Awards Banquet in Columbus. Recipients were: Small Business, Becky Wyatt, Becky’s Health Hut, Sidney; Officer, Rina Orellana, Secretary of the Columbus Hispanic Networking group; Friend, Lance Hedquist, South Sioux City Administrator; and Extra Mile, Karen Fritschle, Arbor Bank, Nebraska City. REAP member Jose Lopez, Lopez Auto Sales, Schuyler, received the Entrepreneur Award from the Center for Rural Affairs.

Ponca Tribe – Jeff Reynolds is serving on the Advisory Council for the Ponca Economic Development Corporation (PEDCO) Micro-Business Opportunities Project. The Project Advisory Council will meet quarterly throughout the three-year project to help develop effective micro business models in reaching Tribal members.

SBA Partnership – Jeff Reynolds and Monica Braun represented REAP in Feb. at an SBA Resource Partner meeting in Omaha to discuss ways all of SBA’s partners can work together.

Women in Agriculture Conference – Dena Beck and Monica Braun staffed a booth at the 2008 Women In Ag Conference in Kearney in Feb. Approximately 250 women attended. Monica presented a session on “What’s in YOUR Busi¬ness Plan?”

Hispanic Microenterprise Assistance – Adriana Dungan attended the Heartland Latino Conference in Omaha, a forum for learning, development and building leadership skills and relationships among Latinos and all members of our community.

Agri-Tourism Conference – Monica Braun attended the Governor’s Agri-Tourism Workshop at North Platte. The one-day workshop targeted rural economic developers and landowners looking for ways to diversify agricultural income.

GROW Nebraska Spring Meeting – Monica Braun and Dena Beck attended the GROW Nebraska Spring Meeting at Burchell’s White Farmhouse Inn near Minden in April. The Women and Company® Equity Award Winners were announced and recognized. Several of the awardees were in attendance. Glenna Zwiebel, Z’s Total Image, Morrill; Kerri Chamberlin, Longhorn Restaurant, Kimball; Maria Alvarado, Alvarado’s Tax Services, Columbus; and Becky Wyatt, Becky’s Health Hut, Sidney were on hand to receive their awards. Awardees not present but recognized at a later time were Dianne Marie, Midwest Quilting and Embroidery, Ord, and Debra Simmons, S & S Sweeper Store, Beatrice.

REAP Office Hours – REAP business specialists across the state continue to provide local office hours at numerous Chamber and Economic Development offices. Communities include: Beatrice, David City, Broken Bow, McCook and Ogallala. The arrangements have provided excellent and more efficient ways to meet clients and build partnerships with community leaders.

Small Business Fair – Monica Braun, Lana Zumbrunn, Seward County Economic Development Director, and Pat Coldiron, Seward Area Chamber Director organized a Seward County Small Business Fair held in Seward in June. Next year’s Seward County Small Business Fair is already scheduled for June 11, 2009.

NATI Conference – Nancy Flock attended the 9th annual Nebraska Association for Translators and Interpreters conference and presented on Starting a Business in Nebraska, Building your Freelance Business, and Marketing your Business.

SBA Outreach – Jeff Reynolds and Monica Braun represented REAP at the SBA Rural Entrepreneurship Outreach meeting at Lincoln in April to discuss challenges for rural businesses, what is working/not working, and how SBA can make the largest impact. District Director Leon Milobar led the meeting. Attending from the DC office was Associate Administrator Anoop Prakash.

Survey Work – REAP completed an “Entrepreneur Needs Assessment Survey” to determine the needs of rural entrepreneurs in Ne¬braska and shape REAP’s future.

NCIP – Adriana Dungan attended the NCIP conference at South Sioux City. The conference is attended by community leaders from around Nebraska and provides sessions on leadership, economic and community development.

Economic Development Summits – Several REAP staff attended Economic Development Summits at Wayne and Peru. The events promote regional collaboration and the future of regional economic development in the face of global competition.

Panels – Dena Beck served on the ESU 11 Summer Honors Youth Entrepreneurship Panel. High school students from the south central Nebraska area worked long and hard on a business plan for their business EntreAuction.

Adriana Dungan participated in the “Engaging Community Leaders” panel discussion sponsored by the Nebraska Library Commission to consider new programs for most effective outreach to the Spanish speaking community.

Collaboration – REAP continues to sponsor and partner with a 6-county regional BECA grant in Southeast Nebraska. The group provides local trainings and coordinates the Inventors, Investors and Entrepreneur’s club, better know as I2E club held in Nebraska City. Janelle Moran is extensively involved with the collaborative.

REAP partners with PK Partnership, a group of forward-thinking community members from Phelps and Kearney Counties, and provides trainings including EDGE, Business Succession and much more. Dena Beck is extensively involved with this collaborative.

Rural Revitalization – Regional Revitalization sessions were offered as a partnership with REAP, Nebraska Development Network-Central Region, and South Central and Central Nebraska Development Districts. Two Regional Revitalization workshops have taken place.

One in Franklin addressed Agri & Eco-tourism efforts. Central City had a presentation on Ethanol Myth-busters and on the Community Development Assistance Act. A future workshop in Broken Bow will address Agriculture and Business Succession.

MarketPlace – All REAP staff were involved in the successful 2nd MarketPlace event held in Columbus on Feb. 27. Approximately 500 people attended the sessions. Evaluations were positive for the training sessions and the networking opportunities. For more informa¬tion on this year’s MarketPlace, see www.cfra.org/marketplace/home .

Business Succession Planning Presentations – REAP staff collaborated with the Federal Reserve Bank and local economic developers and other partners to present Business Succession seminars in many Nebraska communities this past year. Business owners and community leaders received information about buying and selling local businesses. Planning for Business Succession is one strategy to keep our rural communities viable.

NEON + NMPF = NEF - Most REAP staff attended the annual Nebraska Enterprise Opportunity Network (NEON) annual meeting at Mahoney State Park at Ashland in December. NEON, Nebraska’s State Microenterprise Association (SMA), was disbanded this year.

The Nebraska Microenterprise Partnership Fund (NMPF), Nebraska’s State Microenterprise Intermediary (SMI), is now known as the Nebraska Enterprise Fund (NEF). Now a Nebraska Statewide System (SMS), NEF is a combination of NEON and NMPF all under one roof.

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