Rural Enterprise Reporter
Business Center Update:
Second Year of Sustainability
Funding Brings Success
BY MONICA BRAUN, REAP
WOMEN'S BUSINESS CENTER
The REAP Women’s Business Center (WBC) entered its second
year of sustainability funding in October 2007. Through
three-quarters of the year, REAP business specialists have
provided 1,586 hours of business counseling to 174 clients.
Seventy-six training opportunities have been provided, and 1,495
have received training. Sixty-two percent of those trained were
women. Approximately 55 startup businesses have received
In response to concerns in rural communities about loss of
businesses as business owners retire, we collaborated with local
economic development organizations and the Federal Reserve Bank
of Kansas City-Omaha Branch to discuss the importance of
planning for Business Succession. Sessions were held in York,
Hebron and Henderson, and more sessions are planned for the
Collaboration continues with the University of
Nebraska-Extension in providing Computer Basics and eCommerce
classes. Three Computer Basics series were held in Spanish in
the northeast part of the state. One Spanish eCommerce session
was held in the northeast.
We have co-sponsored five Marketing Sessions with local
economic development organizations in north central Nebraska.
Dave Buchholz, David & Associates, Hastings, shared his
marketing expertise with business owners in O’Neill, Ainsworth,
Valentine, Broken Bow and Ord. More sessions are planned next
Local REAP Associations/Roundtables continue to provide a
critical support system for each other. They offer opportunities
to learn about techniques, tools and skills to improve their
businesses and benefit from networking. Topics covered include:
Pricing Your Product, Grants for Small Business (Myths), Start
Up Tips for Entrepreneurs, and Sales Taxes.
Since the REAP Business Update became quarterly, we
have developed an email list of REAP members and supporters to
get timely information to our members. If you wish to be
included on our mail list, please send an email to Peggy Mahaney
) and request to be added.
The REAP Women’s Business Center was selected to participate
in the Women and Company® Microenterprise Boost Program
sponsored by the Citigroup Foundation and Women and Company® for
the fourth year. Five low to moderate-income women business
owners were awarded $2,000 each to enhance their businesses.
This year we also provided a past Women & Company awardee with a
Winners were announced at the GROW Nebraska Spring Membership
meeting near Minden. It was a great opportunity to recognize
these women and offer networking and learning from educational
sessions held the same day. We plan to continue to collaborate
with GROW Nebraska as both organizations strive to assist our
business owners to grow and thrive!
We were pleased to receive a $2,900 grant from The
WealthSpring Fund, an affiliate of the Nebraska Community
Foundation and funded through the Cooper Foundation. The
WealthSpring Fund is a statewide fund dedicated to the economic
self-sufficiency of women and their families.
One of the most requested training topics we get is
bookkeeping. We submitted a grant proposal to develop a
bookkeeping curriculum. A Bookkeeping Basics Guide has
been developed, which will be used with the curriculum under
Low to moderate-income women business owners will be targeted
with this training. A solid foundation for bookkeeping will help
them to be successful. We have enlisted the skills of Connie
Harvey, owner of Efficiency Counts, Hastings, to assist in
curriculum development. We are excited to develop this training
and look forward to offering it in the coming year.
REAP staff continue to collaborate with other organizations
and networks to provide information, training and technical
assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners across
Contact: REAP WBC Director
Monica Braun for more information,
firstname.lastname@example.org or 402.643.2673.